Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 players Jayson Molumby, James Tilley and Aaron Connolly have all been included in the first-team squad for this evening’s Carabao Cup second-round tie against Barnet at the Amex.
After impressing for Simon Rusk’s team, the Irish duo and Tilley could be given the opportunity to shine in Albion’s first team, as Hughton’s men look to progress to the third round of the rebranded competition.
The trio will also be joined by summer signings Soufyan Ahannach and Ales Mateju, and here is a brief insight into the five players that could play this evening, with four of them possibly making their senior debuts for Albion:
The 18-year-old has proved to be a mainstay in Albion’s under-23 side, with the energetic central midfielder racking up 18 appearances in the Premier League Two Division Two last season. Molumby also made four appearances in the Checkatrade Trophy, playing the entire 90 minutes on visits to both Southend and Coventry City. Hughton has used the midfielder in the last two pre-season campaigns for the first team, and Molumby also travelled to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The 17-year old striker has impressed since joining the club last summer, as he broke into the under-23 side after showing his ability in Ian Buckman’s under-18 team throughout the season. Connolly scored a brace on his debut for Simon Rusk’s team, before also finding the back of the net against Middlesbrough’s under-23s at the Amex. The Irishman featured in Albion’s pre-season friendly against Southend United, and could now get his chance to shine. If Connolly does feature, he'll be first player born this millennium to play for the senior team.
The 19-year-old made his senior debut in 2015, coming off the bench in Albion's 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough on the final day of the season. Since then, the versatile attacker has performed well in Simon Rusk's under-23 side, and finished top goalscorer last season. Tilley found the back of the net with a sublime free-kick at Norwich last week, and could now get his chance to make an impression on the first-team stage at the Amex. Tilley also appeared for Hughton's team last season, as a late substitute in their 4-2 victory over Oxford United in the EFL Cup.
The Czech full-back also arrived at the club this summer, signing from Viktoria Plzen on a three-year contract. After making his debut against AFC Bournemouth in pre-season for the under-23s, Mateju could be given his chance to impress with the first team in the Carabao Cup. The 21-year-old has played in the Europa League and the qualifying stages of the Champions League, and could show off his defensive and offensive attributes this evening.
The 21-year-old recently arrived at the club from Dutch second-tier side Almere City, and could make his Albion debut against the Bees. The explosive winger helped his former club reach the play-offs last season, scoring an impressive 18 goals and claiming 15 assists in 42 appearances throughout the campaign. After gaining valuable experience with his former employers, Ahannach is now ready to test himself in England and show Hughton what impact he can make.