Brighton boss Graham Potter has tempered expectations that Michal Karbownik will instantly fill the void left by Solly March’s injury.
March suffered a knee injury in the 1-0 win at Liverpool last week and questions are being asked who will now play at left wing-back, with the 26-year-old expected to be out for around 12 weeks after undergoing surgery.
Karbownik, who can play as a full-back or a midfielder, signed for Brighton from Legia Warsaw in October but was loaned straight back to the Polish club to further his development.
The 19-year-old was recalled from his loan spell last month and has trained with the Albion first-team in recent weeks, and was named among the substitutes for the games against Liverpool and Burnley.
After being capped three times by Poland and having played in both the Champions League and Europa League for Legia, Brighton fans could be forgiven for assuming Karbownik is the natural choice to replace March.
However, Potter insists the teenager needs to be given time to adjust to his new surroundings after not playing competitive football since his arrival in England.
“He’s one of our options,” said Potter, who is preparing his team to play Leicester in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday. “But I was listening to something (Burnley manager) Sean Dyche was talking about when you sign a player how long it can sometimes take.
“He was mentioning it with Dale (Stephens) and how it takes time to understand how the team is working, and that’s from taking a 31-year-old guy from Manchester who has played four years in the Premier League.
“You consider that with a young player who has come from a different country, is still developing the language, still developing his understanding of football generally. It’s not so easy.
“I can’t give you a definite answer but I think he is an option and it will depend on how well he is doing and whether we feel it is the right thing for him and the team.
“He is a young guy adapting to a new team, a new country, and a new club. He is training and adapting well, we have to be patient with him but the signs are good.”
Dan Burn has frequently played at left wing-back this season and he is the more likely choice to replace March for now.
Adam Webster (ankle) will miss the cup tie at the King Power Stadium and the centre-back may not recover in time for Brighton’s Premier League match at home to Aston Villa at the weekend.
Tariq Lamptey (hamstring), Davy Propper (groin), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (hamstring) will also miss out on Wednesday night, when the likes of Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck could get some game time.