By 90Min
July 24, 2019

Brighton and Hove Albion's Under-23 side had a successful season last year in the Premier League 2 finishing in third place. They ended the year with nine wins, eight draws and only five defeats in 22 outings. 

While their Under-23's seemingly performed a lot stronger than their first team, a number of the youngsters stood out and made a real name for themselves. Away from the club, a number of players performed well while on loan, these players return in the hope of breaking into the first team setup next season. 

Here are six youngsters that we believe deserve a shot in the first team next season.

Aaron Connolly

Pete Norton/GettyImages

Young Irish striker Aaron Connolly had an outstanding season for the Under-23's last season. The centre-forward found himself on the score sheet almost every game that he played. 

He finished the season as the club's top scorer with 16 goals in 18 appearances; numbers which also made him the third-highest scorer in the league with 11 goals in 15 appearances. 

With Brighton veteran Glenn Murray 35 now, it could be time for Brighton to start introducing the youngster into the first team as a potential replacement. 

Viktor Gyökeres

Swedish striker Viktor Gyökeres also performed well for the Under-23 side last season. He managed to score seven goals in 19 appearances for the Seagulls. 

His year was topped off by representing Sweden twice where he also managed to score his first international goal. 

He could certainly be of use as a squad player next campaign. 

Anders Dreyer

Danish winger Anders Dreyer showed his worth last season as he looks to break into the first-team setup, scoring four goals in 14 appearances for the reserve team during the first half of the season. He spent the second half of the season on loan with St. Mirren but only made two appearances in Scotland.

Despite this, he looks set to feature in the first team at Brighton next season.

Matthew Clarke

Youngster Matthew Clarke was actually Brighton's first signing of the summer, making the move from Portsmouth, were he made over 60 appearances last season.

The youngster, who captained his side, was also named their player of the season. The towering centre-half has enough ability to challenge Brighton's first team names and will certainly be aiming to push for a first-team spot come the start of the Premier League season.  

It is unclear what sort of role the manager has planned for him but deserves a shot at the first team during the next campaign. 

Jan Mlakar

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Jan Mlakar signed a three-year deal with Brighton in January before being loaned back out to NK Maribor for the rest of the season. 

The 20-year-old had a very successful loan spell in Slovenia, scoring 14 goals in 32 appearances. 

Manager Graham Potter will certainly have seen how he fared abroad and should be looking to introduce Mlakar into the first team set-up so he can continue his development at the highest level. 

Tudor Baluta

Giuseppe Bellini/GettyImages

Young Romanian defender Tudor Baluta spent the season in the Romanian first division where playing for FC Viitorul. The youngster has the ability to play at centre-back or as a defensive midfielder, showing just how versatile he is. 

Last season, the youngster made 15 top-flight appearances scoring two goals. Baluta signed a three-year deal with the Seagulls in January before being loaned back out to Romania. 

Baluta has the potential to become a world-class player if he is given the opportunity in the first team to develop and he is eager to kick-start his career on the South Coast this coming season.

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