Potter feared for Murray’s fitness before striker scored late winner

Graham Potter admits he feared for the fitness of Glenn Murray before the veteran striker scored Brighton’s stoppage-time winner in a 2-1 Carabao Cup victory at Bristol Rovers.

Murray turned in from close range in the second additional minute after Tom Nichols had earlier cancelled out Aaron Connolly’s opener for a Seagulls side showing 11 changes from the weekend defeat to Southampton.

But Potter was worried 35-year-old Murray might have to be withdrawn before his match-winning contribution.

“He was stretching a bit, so I was just a bit concerned,” he said.

“But we asked him and he said he was fine to get through, no problem.

“At 1-1 and the clock ticking down, you think Glenn would obviously be a penalty taker for us.”

Discussing his side’s performance, Potter added: “It was a really pleasing evening for us.

“It was a tough game. Bristol Rovers made it difficult for us and you’d expect that.

“But overall, the application and effort from the players was really pleasing.

“Out of possession we worked really hard. It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of direct play going on, but we dealt with it in the main quite well.

“Sometimes when it’s a team coming together on the pitch for the first time it lacks a bit of cohesion, but overall happy for the players to get the minutes and to go through.”

Connolly’s opener represented a first senior goal for the academy product.

“He’s got that knack of scoring, which is a nice knack to have,” said Potter

“He’s a young lad with a lot to learn, of course, but he’s worked really well with us in pre-season and it was important for him to play tonight.

“He’s in our group and he’s competing for a place in our matchday squad. I think training with the group is of big benefit to him and games like this can help him.”

Rovers boss Graham Coughlan was pleased with the effort from his players and hoped it would put to bed any criticism from the club’s fans of his side’s performances.

“We knew we had to ride our luck and we knew we wouldn’t see as much of the ball as we would normally,” he said.

“That’s what happens when you come up against Premier League teams who are well drilled.

“All in all, it wasn’t a winning performance but it was a positive performance.

“I think the fans appreciated that and I think the players appreciated the fans, so hopefully we’ve maybe turned a corner tonight with the fans.”

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