Albion have been told they have a top academy - as the youngsters prepare to take centre stage.

The under-21s visit MK Dons tonight (7pm) to kick off the knockout stage of the Bristol Street Motors EFL Trophy.

It is unclear who will be available given that several squad members have joined Jack Hinshelwood in the senior group.

First team boss Roberto De Zerbi said: “The academy of Brighton is top “They work very well. For example, if I watch the under-21 game, I love the coach, how they play, it’s amazing.

“I am not used to speaking to the coaches of the academy because I don’t want to put pressure on them.

“But, if they work as a coach for the under-21s, it’s an honour, they should be proud. It’s another secret of Brighton.”

Hinshelwood, son of former Albion defender Adam, has played out of position at left-back with the seniors.

De Zerbi said: “His secret is his family.

“I know his father. You can understand the guy you work with better when you know the family.

“He’s older than his age, he’s ready to play in the first XI in the Premier League and Europa League.

“The bigger credit is to the academy of Brighton because we can use a lot of young players and they are ready.”

Benicio Baker-Boaitey made his debut at Chelsea.