Albion are gearing themselves up for a potential Premier League bidding war for Liam Bridcutt in the final week of the January transfer window.

Sunderland remain favourites to reach an agreement with the Seagulls over the want-away midfielder, who is keen to be reunited with former Albion boss Gus Poyet at the Stadium of Light.

Bridcutt has also been monitored previously by the likes of Swansea, Norwich and Fulham, so Poyet could face competition for his No.1 January target.

Bridcutt, who had a transfer request turned down earlier this month, is unlikely to be involved again in Albion's FA Cup tie at Port Vale tomorrow.

He missed last Saturday's defeat at Derby because he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

Fellow midfielder Keith Andrews said: "It hasn't been nice for anybody, the club, Liam, the way it's been dealt with.

"Obviously there's issues with the former manager trying to get him and bits and bobs like that, so it's been a little bit unsavoury I suppose.

"We'll know by next Friday night waht's going to happen. If he doesn't go he'll have to crack on until the end of the season and if he does go I'm sure he will leave with everybody's best wishes.

"Liam has been very good for this football club and equally the football club has been very good for Liam."

Sunderland had bids of £2 million for Bridcutt and around £1.75 million for Albion winger Will Buckley rejected at the beginning of the January window.

Buckley, now being linked with the Seagulls' arch-rivals Crystal Palace, is less likely to feature against Vale than the fit-again Kazenga LuaLua.

Buckley was not scheduled to resume training until yesterday after four weeks out with a recurrence of hamstring trouble. LuaLua, who sat out the Derby defeat with a minor hamstring problem, was back in training earlier in the week.

Albion assistant Nathan Jones, asked this morning about Buckley and LuaLua, said: "It might be a little bit soon for one of them."