Graham Potter believes Aaron Connolly will be better for current goal struggles

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Brighton forward Aaron Connolly has struggled for goals, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Ed Elliot, PA

Brighton boss Graham Potter has backed misfiring forward Aaron Connolly to learn from his failings in front of goal.

Republic of Ireland international Connolly has registered just once all season and was guilty of a glaring miss in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with bottom club Sheffield United.

Albion are desperate for greater firepower as they bid to move away from the wrong end of the table having scored only eight times in their past 10 games.

Potter takes the 17th-placed Seagulls to West Ham on Sunday and is confident 20-year-old Connolly can overcome recent struggles.

“He’s a young player that is learning his trade in the toughest league in the world,” said Potter.

“All forwards miss chances, it’s part of the life of a striker.

“Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a pattern in life, we forget the struggles that people have and we only remember the good things – I don’t think that’s the most positive message for our young people.

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“Success is a result of sometimes suffering, and sometimes struggling, and sometimes failing. And that is part of what it is to be a Premier League footballer.

“We will support him and we believe in him and we will help him. He will get better for the experience.”

Danny Welbeck and Solly March are the only Albion players to have found the net from open play in the past seven games, with Pascal Gross contributing two penalties during that period.

Former England forward Welbeck, signed as a free agent in mid October, claimed the much-needed late equaliser against the Blades after scoring in November’s 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

Potter has been impressed with the early impact of the 30-year-old – who has four career goals against weekend opponents West Ham – and believes there is more to come.

“He’s been important for us. You talk about a player that has a quality on the pitch and a quality off the pitch,” said Potter.

“He came late to us, so everyone is just adjusting to that. I think his quality is there.

“He will improve the more he’s with us and he will help the team. He’s one of a number of players that are fighting and we’re all together trying to improve our situation.”

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West Ham, defeated 3-0 at London rivals Chelsea on Monday, currently occupy mid-table following a solid start to the season.

Potter expects a tough test from David Moyes’ Hammers and, despite his side’s unconvincing form, feels his players will approach the game with confidence.

“It will be a difficult game, because David Moyes’ teams are always very well-organised and strong from set-pieces,” said Potter.

“They’ve got the points they have because they can mix the game up well and they’re a strong side.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge. The game against Sheffield United we can take some positives from and go there with optimism.”

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