Vicente has been earmarked for a New Year comeback for Albion.

And boss Gus Poyet admits it will feel like a January signing if the Spanish playmaker is available again.

A thigh tendon injury has sidelined Vicente since a brief appearance as a substitute in Albion’s first home game in the Championship against Cardiff back in August.

The return of the former Valencia playmaker would provide a boost to the Seagulls’ promotion challenge akin to a fresh face arriving once the transfer window re-opens on January 1.

Poyet told The Argus: “That is the idea. It doesn’t need to be in January, it could be in December! I won’t have a problem if he can play on the 29th (home to Watford) or the 22nd (away to Blackburn). If that was the case it would be great.”

Vicente is currently on an individual rehab programme, specifically designed by Albion’s medical team to step up his recovery.

He has yet to resume training with the rest of the squad and Poyet is loathed to put a precise timescale on his return to the main group after several false starts.

“He has been training last week but with us I don’t know,” Poyet said. “He has been training more than he was a month ago.

“He has been working on his fitness in different ways, a different programme so that he can get better and maybe join the group.

“He has been doing a bit of everything, strength work, controlled training, running, the new gravity treadmill and plenty of pool exercises which could be really hard but not the same as playing.

“It is a different way of bringing him back to the first team quickly, where he can train and forget about everything. I don’t want to put a date on it, because that’s not fair.”