Manager Chris Hughton said Jack Butland would be ready to step into the breach at Birmingham City, if called upon.
The England under-21 goalkeeper has been recalled from loan to Cheltenham Town because of Boaz Myhill’s thumb injury.
He was Colin Doyle’s deputy on the substitutes’ bench at Ipswich Town on Tuesday evening.
If anything happened to Doyle, Hughton said he would be very comfortable about handing Butland a club and Championship debut.
“This is a young goalkeeper that has gone to Cheltenham and done very well there,” said the boss. “He has played in the England under-21s, so for us his progress couldn’t have gone any better and it’s been a great learning experience for him at Cheltenham.
“How good a goalkeeper he will be nobody knows. Because that’s trying to assess the future. But if I look at his progress so far he’s certainly got the makings of a very good goalkeeper.”
Myhill suffered his injury in the warm-up before the Bristol City match last weekend. He has not broken this thumb, Hughton stated.
“It was an innocuous one,” he added. “In the warm-up the ball bounced off his chest and hit his thumb. It’s the life of a goalkeeper. They’re putting in so many dives and catching the ball there’s always going to be that percentage of times where they catch a finger or thumb.”
Hughton said he had no qualms about bringing Butland back from his loan.
“It’s tough on Cheltenham but I think they will be very grateful, particularly that we made Jack available for the second half of the season.
“We made a decision to send him back after Christmas, which is perhaps a decision that other clubs might not have done because it left us with two goalkeepers. A lot of clubs like to cover themselves with three goalkeepers.”