Albion manager Mark McGhee today revealed Dean Blackwell is on course for another new contract and the play-offs.

The experienced centre half took part in a non-contact training session yesterday.

It was the first time he has been involved with the rest of the squad since suffering cruciate knee ligament damage in the summer.

Former Wimbledon stalwart Blackwell will be part of McGhee's plans next year, especially if Albion make it back into the First Division.

McGhee said: "He is definitely a player in the squad with proven ability at a higher level, so he will be valuable next season if we do get promoted."

Blackwell had verbally agreed a one-year contract with former manager Steve Coppell when he suffered the career-threatening injury in a pre-season training accident.

Albion honoured the deal and now the 34-year-old Londoner looks like being rewarded for months of hard work and rehabilitation with another one.

McGhee has pencilled in Blackwell's comeback for the Sussex Senior Cup final against Worthing on May 3.

The Seagulls' regular season ends at Wrexham five days later, but the manager is hopeful Blackwell would be available for the play-offs if required.

"We will be careful with him, but it would be a boost for him and us to be involved in some capacity," McGhee said.

"The more players you have then the more options and cover you have."

Meanwhile, Shoreham-born midfielder Simon Rodger, sidelined since September by a similar injury, has been ruled out by McGhee for the rest of the season.

New boy Paul Reid suffered a back injury playing for the Reserves in their 1-0 defeat at Reading yesterday but he does not expect it to hinder his push for a first team place too severely.