ALBION boss Jeff Wood has launched a hunt to replace long term injury victim Jeff Minton.

He is scouring the country for midfield cover after learning yesterday that Minton will still be out for several weeks.

"I've got a few names in mind and I will be making a few phone calls," said Wood. "I'm looking to strengthen, but it's a case of trying to get the right player for the right price at the right time."

Minton has been missing from the side since damaging ankle ligaments at Chester on January 15.

The Seagulls' nine-goal playmaker was expected to return last Saturday against Exeter until hurting the ankle again in training.

He saw a specialist yesterday and the verdict was a blow to Albion's promotion bid.

"When he is pain-free he will play," said Wood. "That could be two weeks or six weeks, but the specialist is not too hopeful. It's been five weeks already and he is still getting pain."

Wood is less concerned about drafting in a temporary replacement for Rod Thomas. The pint-sized winger came out of plaster yesterday after damaging ankle ligaments five weeks ago.

The visit to Scunthorpe on March 6 has been pencilled in for his comeback. Wood is hopeful that Stuart Storer will recover from a groin injury to fill the gap at Southend on Saturday and in the home game seven days later against Leyton Orient, when Gary Hart, Ian Culverhouse and Paul Sturgess are suspended.

"We are very hopeful Rod will be available for Scunthorpe, so we are just looking at the next two matches," added Wood. "If Stuart is fit he could be that winger for us on a temporary basis."

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