Darren Currie's recent £250,000 move to Ipswich meant more to Richard Carpenter than much-needed cash for Albion.

It has also improved Carpenter's chances of restoring his reputation for reliability.

The powerful midfielder regained his place in the starting line-up for the Seagulls' last two matches against Millwall and Stoke as a direct result of Currie's switch to Suffolk.

"Football's funny, isn't it," he said. "I have just got to look upon it as a positive thing for me and hopefully it will work out for all of us.

"Darren was obviously a quality player with good distribution from both feet. It's a great move for him. Nobody is disappointed that he's gone in that respect.

"He's a good lad and we wish him well. Hopefully now I can look forward to being in the side and doing well."

Carpenter has been restricted to nine Championship starts following summer knee surgery, a blot on a remarkable record of consistency with Albion.

He had missed just 11 out of 184 League games in the last four seasons and was pretty much a regular before that for both Cardiff and Fulham.

The pattern has been interrupted as a result of a cartilage operation shortly after Carpenter helped Albion beat Bristol City in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in May.

"I had a serious knee injury," he said. "I had ten days' holiday after the play-offs and then I was in with it all summer.

"It has been hard to get it strong and train as well, but I feel now I am starting to get back and feel fit.

"I'd never missed a pre-season before in ten years. It has been hard at times just to sit and watch the boys and frustrating because it's not something I am used to.

"But I've had to deal with it. That's the way football goes at times. A lot of us are out of contract at the end of the season and you want to be out there playing.

"Unfortunately, I've spent most of the time missing through injury and I haven't really contributed that much. I find that a bit strange at times."

The Albion players are made of stern stuff. They are determined not to allow the departures of Currie and captain Danny Cullip to Sheffield United affect the Musketeering spirit instilled by Micky Adams when he brought players like Carpenter into the squad.

"People are always writing us off," Carpenter said. "When we played at West Ham some of their players were saying we didn't deserve to be on the same pitch as them. That just spurs you on to greater things.

"The boys are strong. These are hard times for the club, but when push comes to shove we all get our heads down and get on with it.

"Micky Adams set the club in good stead when he started re-building five or six years ago.

"They were the foundations he laid. He knew he could rely on the players he brought in. That has proved to be a good recipe for success with the promotions we've had."

One of Carpenter's many promotions was with Gillingham, the visitors on Boxing Day for Albion's last home game of the year.

The 32-year-old from Kent has fond memories of his 12 years with the Gills.

"I was a schoolboy there, played all through the youth teams and then I was reserve captain of the South East Counties side.

"I also had six years as a pro. Damien Richardson signed me, then I played for Glenn Roeder, Mike Flanagan, Neil Smillie and Tony Pulis when we were promoted.

"It was like a revolving door in terms of managers, but I couldn't say a bad word about my local club. A lot of people I know support them and I always look for their results."

Gillingham have yet another manager now in former Burnley boss Stan Ternent. The festive fixture against their one-time landlords gives Albion an opportunity for their first double of the season.

Carpenter celebrated his first start of the campaign by helping them to a 1-0 win at Priestfield Stadium at the end of September. He has been in and out of the picture since then but, with Currie gone, he is more likely to be in than out and manager Mark McGhee feels there is more to come.

"Richard was probably one of our most consistent players last season," McGhee said.

"I think he has suffered because of missing pre-season training. He is still coming back to his best."