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Seagulls give O'Hora wings with new deal

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STAYING ON: Brighton’s Warren O’Hora. Photo: SPORTSFILE

STAYING ON: Brighton’s Warren O’Hora. Photo: SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

STAYING ON: Brighton’s Warren O’Hora. Photo: SPORTSFILE

A new one-year contract tucked away, Dubliner Warren O'Hora will look to make the breakthrough with Premier League side Brighton next season after the Seagulls showed their faith in the 21-year-old.

O'Hora has yet to make the first team since he joined Brighton from Bohemians in January 2018, the closest he got a place on the bench for a League Cup tie.

But Brighton, trying to plan for next season without the guarantee of knowing which division they'll be in as they could be dragged into the relegation battle when the Premier League resumes in two weeks' time, have made a decision which suits the Cabra lad.

Six members of their underage squads have been let go but O'Hora is one of the six who have been kept on.

"Six members of the under-23 squad have been retained for next season and we look forward to working with these players again," says Brighton's academy manager John Morling.

O'Hora told the Herald in February that he hoped to prove himself at Brighton.

"The Premier League is maybe the highest level in Europe, I know I am not at that level now and I have more work to do but I have belief and confidence in myself that I can get to that level. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think that," he said.

Brighton have said they will consider promoting players from their U-23 squad to the first team to cope with the burden of playing so many games in such a short space of time when the top flight returns, so a door to Premier League action could open for O'Hora, although his focus is likely to be on next season.

Brighton loaned out Ireland international Aaron Connolly before he made the first team while another Irish player at the club, midfielder Jayson Molumby, had also been on loan, to Millwall.

He hopes to be allowed to see out the season with the London club when the Championship returns.

"Seeing Aaron Conolly come in and do well in the first team is great for me and gives me hope. He did really well when he got his chance, scored on his debut, the stuff of dreams. That motivates me to think that it can be done and that the first team is not a million miles away," O'Hora said.

"I know that Aaron worked hard to get that chance, the gaffer here has trust in younger players, the like of Aaron and Steven Alzate, it motivates me."