Crawley boss John Gregory, left, has tipped his former club Albion to make a return to the top-flight.

Gregory played for the Seagulls for two seasons in the old First Division and believes they are close to mixing it with the elite once again.

The Reds boss will get a close up look of Sami Hyppia’s men tonight when they meet at the Stadium.

And Gregory sees Albion’s progress from playing in the third tier at the Withdean Stadium four years ago to packing out the Amex in the Championship as a blueprint which Crawley can strive to emulate.

He said: “They have made enormous strides as a football club since moving into their new stadium and it is great to see them doing so well.

“They have got some pride back into the club and it is only a question of time before we see them in the Premier League.

“We would love to get into a similar situation as Brighton. It was not so long ago they were playing at Withdean in front of not that many fans so it is a testament to how far they have come and we certainly have aspirations to do something similar and one day be playing in the Championship.”

Gregory is set to take another look at trialists Emmet O’Connor and Bobson Bawling tonight before making a final decision on their futures.

Midfielder Simon Heslop will not feature as he has signed for Mansfield while French winger Abdellah Zoubir and former Wales under-21 goalkeeper Rhys Taylor are also expected to get their first run outs.

Gregory is keen to bring in another three players before the season kicks off against Barnsley on August 9 but accepts he may have to wait if he is to utilise the loan market.

The Reds boss added: “Almost every loanee I have tried to get from a Premier League club is part of the first team squad at the moment.

“I know Arsene Wenger tends to play a lot of his kids in the Emirates Cup and then afterwards he makes a decision that certain players can go out on loan.

“Chelsea are the same, Man City are the same, Crystal Palace are the same. Clubs want to see if they can cope with first team football so are not prepared to let them out just yet.”