Graham Potter backs Brighton captain Lewis Dunk to play until his mid-thirties

Graham Potter backed Brighton captain Lewis Dunk to emulate his West Ham colleague Mark Noble and continued playing Premier League football until his mid-thirties.

Longtime Hammers midfielder Noble, 35, is close to retiring following Sunday’s season finale against the Seagulls at Amex Stadium.

Hosts Albion have their own one-club man in former England defender Dunk.

Head coach Potter believes the influential 30-year-old, who missed nine games in December and January with a knee injury, is back in top form and can enjoy a similar longevity to rival Noble.

“He can do it because he takes such good care of himself,” Potter said of Dunk, who has made 373 appearances at Brighton.

“I think as he gets older, he becomes more aware of what he needs to do, how he needs to take care of his body.

“He’s getting smarter, as you can imagine. The more experience he gains the more knowledge he has about himself and the team and the game (he has), so those little things help as you get older.

“He’s had a challenging year, the first serious injury of his career, so he’s had to deal with it psychologically.

“It wasn’t easy for him because his standards are so high. But I think you’ve seen recently that he’s back in top form and obviously we had no doubts, but it’s a process you still have to go through.

“He’s been a great support to me since I’ve been here and we’re delighted to have him as a one-club guy.”

Potter celebrated a double anniversary on Friday – celebrating his 47th birthday and three years since his appointment by Albion.

He has already guided the club to a record Premier League points tally this season, which currently stands at 48, and is looking to secure that first result in the first half, with a place between eighth and 14th still a possibility is.

Seventh-placed West Ham, meanwhile, travel to the south coast in a bid to overtake Manchester United and snatch Europa League qualification.

Potter awaits an entertaining finale to a memorable campaign.

“Our boys are ambitious, they’re determined, they want to succeed, they want to do better and there’s one game left,” he said.

“It’s a home game against a top team – a team we have a lot of respect for. I think it will be a good game because West Ham have to win.

“A draw won’t change their position in the table for them, not even a loss.

“The only way they can surpass Manchester United is by winning, that alone makes it an interesting game.

“You look at the league table and there’s a lot of games things are going on which is great for the Premier League – it just goes to show the margins are pretty tight.

“If we manage to (win) that would be a points tally to be proud of and a position in the league to be proud of.” Graham Potter backs Brighton captain Lewis Dunk to play until his mid-thirties

Fry Electronics Team

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