Graham Potter says Aaron Connolly is growing up as a striker and a team player.

The Albion forward can expect another chapter in his progression and development when he joins up with the Republic of Ireland squad on Sunday.

Connolly, Jayson Molumby and on-loan Shane Duffy have all been retained by national team boss Stephen Kenny.

The Republic play Slovakia in Bratislava on Thursday, October 8 for a single-leg play-off fixture in the campaign to qualify for Euro 2020 (which is to be played in 2021).

They then have two games in the 2021 Nations League – at home to Wales on Sunday, October 11 and versus Finland in Helsinki on Wednesday, October 14.

The squad will meet up on Sunday and travel on Tuesday, spending more than a week together in their Covid-proof bubble.

Connolly is seen as more of a wide player than a centre-forward by the Irish.

But his finish in the recent 3-0 win at Newcastle underlined his goal threat.

He was also at the centre of one of the most controversial moments of the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United when he forced a penalty which was overturned on review.

The Argus:

Potter has handed him starts in the last two games after he was on the bench for the Prem opener versus Chelsea.

Albion’s boss told The Argus: “I’m happy with his progress. I think since his injury and lockdown we have seen a real development and a maturity from him.

“Every game he plays, every day he trains will be good for him.

“It’s important for us to help him understand and evaluate the experiences he is having.

“But he has got qualities and attributes at the level, I think, and he has just got to keep going and keep helping the team.”

Connolly suffered a frustrating season in front of goal last term after his sensational two-goal debut versus Tottenham a year ago this weekend.

But he ended the season with a goal at Burnley having returned to fitness after surgery.

Potter said: “I think when he plays for the team and wants to help the team, he is really effective for us.

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“He knows his role in terms of how he can stretch the opposition.

“I thought he was really good against Newcastle in terms of really stretching the back line of their defence which then opens up space for others.

“He takes the fight and the contact against them.

“I think he presses well and then you saw with his goal what he can do, certainly if he gets people lined up in that situation, he is a really good finisher.

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“Overall, step by step, he is making progress.

“Still got a long way to go and plenty to do which is exciting - for him and for us. We just need to carry on helping him.”