Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter has signalled that Reda Khadra and Jan Paul van Hecke will both be given the opportunity to push for a first-team spot next season, speaking about their futures to Sussex World.
The duo have performed admirably at Blackburn Rovers this term, thriving under Tony Mowbray with Khadra’s four goals and three assists in 27 appearances not representing the impact he actually had at Ewood Park.
Going a long way in filling the void left by Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliott as he linked up well with Ben Brereton Diaz and Sam Gallagher, he will be frustrated he hasn’t been able to take to the field for the second-tier side since he sustained an injury against Reading in March.
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Van Hecke, on the other hand, has managed to stay fit but he looked set to taint his time in Lancashire when he was sent off against Fulham in November for a wild lunge on Harry Wilson, an incident that led to his side’s collapse as they were beaten 7-0.
He has managed to turn things around though and despite Rovers’ decline in recent months, he can hold his head up high as one of their best performers this season alongside the likes of Darragh Lenihan and Scott Wharton.
With both players thriving at the club, Blackburn may have wanted to recruit the duo once more and there was even talk about a potential swap deal that would have seen Brereton Diaz join the Seagulls and the pair head to Ewood Park in return.
However, Potter may scupper the second-tier side’s potential plans to recruit them again, saying: “That would be the plan (to give Khadra and van Hecke the chance to push for a first-team spot).
“There are a few lads who we’ve got to sit down with and figure out what the next step is and what the right plan for them is, to assess that.
“There’s potentially a few guys that could come back and be around in pre-season, we will see from there.”
Getting the duo back would be a big boost for Rovers who already know that they can produce at this level – van Hecke is someone who could be especially important with Lenihan set to leave on the expiration of his contract in the summer as things stand.
Lenihan is a big leader in the dressing room and you could certainly see the Dutchman filling that role at some point in the future so if a permanent deal could be agreed, that could provide the Lancashire side with a real boost.
In terms of Khadra, he could potentially be less crucial because of the fact they already have permanent options like Ryan Hedges and Dilan Markanday at their disposal. Still, he has been an exciting player when given the opportunity to shine.
Permanent agreements for both could be too expensive, so the second-tier side may need to bide their time until the latter stages of pre-season as Potter decides whether they are ready to be in the first team at the Amex Stadium or not.
Because of this, Blackburn shouldn’t be relying on the duo to join as they look to formulate a transfer plan in the summer and it’s even possible that Mowbray’s successor won’t want either, so this is one to keep an eye on.