Reports over the weekend suggest a number of eyes are on the 17-year-old, who made his first Bolton start in last Friday night’s FA Cup defeat at Bristol City.
Tottenham, Southampton and Burnley have all been credited with an interest in the youngster, who is still on a scholar’s contract with Wanderers.
But Brighton are actively looking to invest in youth during the January window and sources close to the club claim they could make a move before Thursday’s deadline. News of interest from elsewhere does not surprise Phil Parkinson, who is considering giving Connell his first Championship start in tonight’s must-win game against Reading.
“When any youngster makes his debut an alert goes around all the analysts, their laptop flashes up and it’s inevitable people will know about him. But he’s one we want to keep,” said the Bolton boss.
Republic of Ireland youth international Connell has been fast-tracked from Nicky Spooner and Gavin McCann’s Under-18s, who face Leicester City in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night.
Parkinson is keen to get as many supporters to the University of Bolton Stadium as possible to see the match with a place in the quarter finals at stake.
“The kids play on Wednesday and have already beaten Newcastle and Palace, they have another Premier League team and it would be great to get as many people here to give the lads some support because I think they deserve that backing.”
The game kicks off at 7pm. Adult tickets prices are £3 and concessions £1.