Graham Potter ponders unexpected Jason Steele decision as Robert Sanchez dilemma emerges
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter has a key goalkeeping decision to make as they prepare for a crunch clash against Leeds United at the Amex Stadium this Saturday
Jason Steele, 31, produced a confident display on his Premier League debut during the 2-0 loss at Aston Villa last Saturday.
Steele was drafted in as Albion's regular No 1 goalkeeper Robert Sanchez served his one match suspension at Villa Park following his red card during the 1-1 draw against Newcastle just prior to the international break.
Steele made two fine first half saves to deny Villa's Matty Cash and Danny Ings and looked confident and assured with his distribution throughout.
The former Sunderland goalkeeper had no chance with either of the late goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings and Steele will hope he did enough to keep his place for this Saturday's upcoming match against lowly Leeds.
Sanchez,23, will be available once more but the Spaniard may face a battle to return straight to the starting XI as his form was somewhat erratic in his last two games against Liverpool and Newcastle.
Steele, who captained Brighton in their Carabao Cup matches this season, has impressed Potter and the head coach was pleased with his display at Villa Park.
"He was excellent," said Potter after the defeat. "He did everything we asked of him. He made saves and was good with his feet.
"He really helped the team. He didn't deserve to lose but that is life and we are really happy with him."
Potter previously backed Sanchez to comeback stronger after his setback against Newcastle.
"It’s the life of a goalkeeper," said the Albion head coach. "It’s the life of a young goalkeeper that you have to take some adversity at times, some challenging moments.
"And it’s always about how you respond. A career isn’t built on success only, it’s built on moments like today, moments where confidence isn’t as high or form isn’t as good.
"That’s how young players develop and grow and we’ll support him and have the utmost faith and belief in him. We love him for what he has done with us, he’s been fantastic.
"It’s upsetting for him at the moment but he’ll get back stronger."
Brighton's loss at Villa saw them drop down a place to ninth, while Saturday's opponents Leeds are 17th following their 2-1 loss at Tottenham on Sunday.
Albion have gone seven Premier League matches without victory and skipper Lewis Dunk is determined to put that right against Marcelo Bielsa's men.
"It is a concern but it is a tough league," said Dunk. "The performances we are putting in are good but it is hard to win games. From the outside you can sit there and say you should be beating this team and that team but it is not so easy.
"We make sure we work hard and take our game plan onto the pitch and hopefully it works. Unfortunately today it didn't.
"We are in a much position than we have been. Usually we are floating around the relegation zone. At the moment we are a little bit away.
"You can get sucked in quick and we have to make sure that doesn't happen. We know what we are about and we have a big home game coming up (against Leeds)."