Junior Lewis has been lined up for a three month loan spell with Albion from January 20.

But the versatile 28-year-old could arrive from Leicester sooner or later than that.

Boss Peter Taylor is still pondering over the best time for Lewis to join the Seagulls' promotion challenge.

"At the moment I am trying to go for the last three months of the season, which only means waiting until the 20th of January," Taylor revealed.

"If we get injuries before that I will have to think about it. I have also got to think about whether I want to sign him for the play-offs as well."

Lewis will be teaming up with Taylor for the fourth time, having played under him at Dover, Gillingham and Leicester.

Taylor is convinced the lanky utility man will play a senior role in Albion's push for a place in Division One.

"He will be a quality player. He can play in the centre of defence, fullback, the middle of midfield or as an attacking midfielder and he has great size.

"You need a good deal of height in the Second Division. I have got a lot of belief in him and I think he will do a really good job for us."

Taylor was at Reading yesterday to watch one of Albion's promotion rivals beat Port Vale 2-0 with two Jamie Cureton goals in the last seven minutes, the first a penalty.

The Royals are now behind third placed Albion on goal difference, having played a game more.

Stoke are the new leaders following a 2-0 home win against Blackpool, courtesy of goals in each half by Sergei Shtaniuk and James O'Connor.

Kerry Mayo (knee ligaments) and Gary Hart (dead leg) were due to play a half in a friendly at Fulham today, but that game has been frozen off. They have both missed the last three matches.

Taylor is hoping Michel Kuipers recovers from a pulled thigh muscle to take over in goal from his ineligible loan replacement Simon Royce in Saturday's FA Cup third round tie against Preston at Withdean.

Will Packham is on standby for his full debut if Kuipers does not make it, while Paul Rogers is ruled out by the start of a two-match suspension.

The First Division visitors have returned around 400 tickets from their allocation of 1,000 and they are on sale today to Albion supporters.

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