Lewis Dunk has been hailed as the best player in the Championship – by the man who is preparing to fill the big No.5’s boots.

Connor Goldson is favourite to replace his suspended colleague when the Seagulls go to Preston in the Championship on Saturday.

He will try to help blunt a North End side who plundered a late point at the Amex in October and have scored in all but one of their last 17 Championship games.

Dunk will be back in contention for next Friday’s six-pointer at home to Sheffield Wednesday and is rated the best footballer in any position by his fellow centre-back.

Goldson said: “Personally I think he is the best player in the league.

“As a centre-half I think he goes a bit un-noticed but I don’t think there is anyone better than him.

“No disrespect to us as a team but I think he could play for whoever he wants.

“He has got the right attitude, he just needs to keep performing as he is and I’m sure he will go on to be what he wants.”

Goldson, pictured, and Shane Duffy will meet a Preston strikeforce of Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill who caused Arsenal problems last Saturday with 6ft 7in Simon Makienok on the bench.

He admits Albion have not forgotten the bitter disappointment of Makienok’s added-time leveller for North End which cast a mood of depression across the Amex.

But he said they could not get caught up in any revenge mission.

The former Shrewsbury powerhouse said: “It doesn’t matter if they took points off us here.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Preston, if it’s Newcastle in second place or if it’s Rotherham at the bottom of the league. We go into the game feeling the same.”