Date: 17th July 2017 at 11:47am
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Having secured the long-term future of Christian Walton, before loaning him to Wigan last week, Brighton also tied down Finland international goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa over the weekend.

Maenpaa extended his Albion deal to keep him at the Amex Stadium for the upcoming season.

Commenting on this Chris Hughton told the Official Website: ‘Niki has been a great asset for the club over the past two years, and I am really pleased he has committed his future to the club. He has not have played as many games as he would have liked, through no fault of his own, but his attitude has been fantastic throughout that time and his contribution to the squad should not be underestimated.’

The keeper hasn’t been called upon too much during his time at Brighton, arriving from Dutch side VVV-Venlo in 2015, making just the one Championship start and nine others in various cup competitions, but he’s always worked hard and Hughton said he’s impressed him.

‘He has trained hard and worked very well with Ben Roberts and the other goalkeepers at the club – but most importantly, when he has played, he has served us very well.’

This new deal means Maenpaa will now have the chance of fulfilling, as he told the Official Website, his dream of playing in the Premier League.

‘I`m really delighted. It`s a new challenge for everybody and I`m looking forward to it. I am really happy at Brighton at the moment and really happy to sign a new contract. It`s always been my dream to be in the Premier League. Two years ago when I was playing in the second tier in Holland, it was hard to believe it was possible. I was always hoping and believing and now it`s here, I am enjoying the moment and really proud.’

Maenpaa, 32, marked this by playing a part in Brighton’s victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf, which came after a week of training in the Austrian Alps.

Of which he said: ‘It was nice to play [against Fortuna] and it`s been quite a tough training camp, but it`s good to finish with a victory. The team played well, especially in the second half.’

It would be expect, as he was David Stockdale previously, the Finn will start the season as back up to Australian keeper Mathew Ryan but the shot-stopper is up for the battle and Maenpaa looks forward to meeting his rival and competing with him for the number one spot.

‘I am looking forward to meeting him next week and I have heard a lot of good things about him. I see it as a big chance and I`m looking forward to it. I am ready and we`ll see what happens next season.’

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