Dan Harding today revealed his determination to re-establish himself as Albion's first choice leftback.

The England under-21 defender will be in his favourite role for the third match running at Stoke tomorrow after winning his place back from Kerry Mayo.

Harding took over from Mayo in the latter part of last season as the Seagulls were promoted via the play-offs.

A run of 20 straight starts was ruined by a red card in Albion's first home game in the Championship against Plymouth back in August.

Harding, out of contract this summer and yet to agree a new deal, has been plagued by inconsistency this season.

Manager Mark McGhee has dropped him four times and has also tried him in midfield.

Harding's lowest point came against Stoke at Withdean just before Christmas.

Blamed by McGhee for both goals in Albion's defeat at Millwall six days earlier, he was outmuscled by Ade Akinbiyi for Stoke's late winner.

Now Harding is back where he believes he belongs after featuring in consecutive home victories against Sunderland and Milwall.

"I had a bit of a point to prove, coming in after Kerry had been playing well," he admitted.

"The gaffer decided to put me at leftback again. I had to prove not only to the gaffer but to the other players and the fans that I want that position back.

"That's where I prefer to play. I like to call that my position. I don't mind playing on the lefthand side of midfield or centre midfield, but I do love playing at leftback.

"Hopefully I can reproduce the same sort of form and keep my confidence up. Everyone wants to be playing, so when you are left out it's a bit of a kick in the teeth. It's not nice, but you have to pick yourself up and try to get back into the team."

Harding is hoping a return to the starting line-up for his club is mirrored at international level. He was an unused sub for the last outing for Peter Taylor's under-21s.

"We had a friendly against Holland and I didn't get on," Harding said. "There's a squad of about 20 and I'm just happy to be involved.

"I played the last three games before that but I had no complaints about him (Taylor) trying somebody else out. Hopefully I can keep doing well at leftback and get another starting place.

"There is a big game on March 25th against Germany at Hull. That is a big one for the boys, because we've been doing quite well in qualifying games."

It could be a busy Easter for Harding. England, second in their group behind Germany on goal difference, tackle Azerbaijan in another European Championship qualifier at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on March 29.

Meanwhile, Charlie Oatway's wife has a vested interest in her husband returning to the starting line-up at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow.

Albion's captain came on in the second half against Millwall last Saturday after missing the previous three matches through suspension for a red card at Leeds.

"The best person to ask about how badly I take it is my missus," Oatway said. "I was unapproachable at times during my ban, but she knows that's part of my make-up.

"The way I play and the way I am as a person it's one of those things I have to take as part of the game. At some period of the season there is a good chance I am going to be suspended.

"I think I have slowed down a helluva lot and I've had to look at myself, because I was missing too many games in a season when Micky Adams was here."