Connolly to join Middlesbrough on loan

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Brighton forward Aaron Connolly is expected to join Middlesbrough on loan for the rest of the season in an early January transfer window deal.

The Republic of Ireland international has struggled for form and has started just one Premier League game this season for Graham Potter’s side.

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Connolly has not featured in Brighton’s previous two matchday squads – a 2-0 win against Brentford and an impressive 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

With the 21-year-old’s imminent departure, the club could end the window with one fewer senior attacker, but the prospect of signing a new forward has not been entirely ruled out should Neal Maupay or Danny Welbeck suffer an injury.

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Maupay has been in good form and Welbeck scored the dramatic late equaliser at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Connolly joined Brighton as a youngster in 2016 and went on to make his first-team debut for the club in 2017, coming on as a substitute in a 1-0 win against Barnet in the EFL Cup.

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After a brief loan spell at Luton Town in the 2018-19 season, Connolly made his first Premier League appearance for Brighton in 2019, coming on as a substitute in a 4-0 loss to Manchester City.

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Connolly has since played 52 times for the Seagulls and has scored eight goals in all competitions in his time on the south coast.

Brighton are 10th in the Premier League and are next scheduled to play on January 2 against Everton, who sit 15th in the table.

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