Albion have been told their solid spine holds the key to their promotion hopes.

Former Albion keeper Dave Beasant reckons the Seagulls can challenge for the Premier League.

And he has put his money where his mouth is by backing them at 7/1 to go up.

Beasant, back in Brighton today to help Charlie Oatway kick off his testimonial season, rates the Seagulls’ 3-0 defeat of Sheffield Wednesday as the best second-tier performance he has seen this season.

Bruno’s goal-making contribution from right-back that night helped earn him a nomination for Championship player of the month.

Beasant is a big fan of Bruno and left-back Wayne Bridge.

But he reckons the middle men hold the key during a tough season, starting at the back with Tomasz Kuszczak.

The ex-England keeper said: “The full-backs are obviously a big part but I think the two centre-halves are as well.

“Because the full-backs have got freedom to bomb on I think you have got to have defenders who can defend.

“Gordon Greer is a bit more of a footballer and likes to travel out with the ball.

Adam El-Abd wants to defend. He wants to tackle people, he is happy to stay back there.

“It’s down the middle. You always want that strong spine and Brighton have got it.

“You’ve got Tomasz who has been great for them, the centre-halves, you’ve got Liam Bridcutt sitting there and Craig Mackail-Smith up top.

“They have got big players in those vital areas.”

Bruno will learn today whether he has beaten Leicester defender Wes Morgan and Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray to the Championship award.

Albion signed off for the international break with a defeat and two draws but Beasant is convinced they can return to form.

He said: “I saw them against Sheffield Wednesday and the football they played was the best performance I have seen by a Championship side.

“After that performance I put a bet on them at 7/1 for promotion.

“I could probably get a lot better odds now!

“They have learnt a lot from last year, they have got a season’s experience under their belts and they have had a fantastic start.”

Beasant, who has commentated on recent Albion matches for the club’s website and BBC Radio Sussex, will be one of the star guests at Oatway’s Lunch Of Legends at the Hilton Metropole today.

He said: “Chas has earned his testimonial and it’s good what he is doing, giving half of the money to Albion In The Community.”