Dan Harding will prepare for the Division Two play-off decider against Swindon by walking his dog.

A stroll with cocker spaniel Poppy will help the rookie Albion defender keep the nerves at bay.

Harding, 20, has established himself in the first team with a series of cool performances since making his debut against Plymouth ten months ago.

And he hopes to have the game of his fledgling career when Seagulls defend a 1-0 lead from the semi-final first leg in front of their own fans at Withdean Stadium.

A place in the final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, and promotion to Division One are at stake.

Harding said: "I'll try and treat it like a normal game. I'll get ready in my own way. I have a set routine on match days which I keep to.

"I'll get up early, have a good breakfast and take my dog for a walk which will help relax me and keep me occupied.

"I'll try and stop myself from being nervous for the rest of the day before going to the ground."

Harding is still buzzing after Sunday's 1-0 victory against Swindon at the County Ground.

He said: "It was a brilliant day. Running out on the pitch is something that will stay with me forever.

"I might seem placid on the outside but I was nervous. When the whistle blew, though, I was able to concentrate on playing.

"So I feel I'll be all right once we kick off for the second leg.

"There is a lot of pressure but that is what football is about. If there was no pressure what would be the point?"

"I will be nervous again. But the other players and the coaching staff were fantastic on Sunday.

"They talked to me before and after the game and it helped me deal with the situation. It will be the same at Withdean."

Kerry Mayo, Albion's long-serving left-back who Harding has kept out of the team, has been a major help when it comes to support.

Harding said: "It has been tough for Kerry. But he speaks to me after training and each game to tell me if I've done well or if I could do better. He has given me confidence. It shows what a fantastic person he is as well as a footballer.

"The banter and spirit of the players is fantastic. The gaffer has shown a lot of faith in me and I hope I can play my part in giving him a great 47th birthday present by helping the team get through."

The youth management team of Martin Hinshelwood and Dean Wilkins also offer support.

Harding said: "They have helped put me where I will be tonight. They built me up so I knew what to do when I became a professional. The fact myself and Adam Virgo are due to start and Adam Hinshelwood, Adam El-Abd, Chris McPhee, Dan Beck and Jake Robinson have been involved in the first team this season, shows what a fantastic job they are doing."

Harding is convinced there will be no complacency as Albion aim to rock the Robins again, despite Albion's one-goal advantage and an impressive home record.

He said: "The first leg wasn't the prettiest match in the world, we defended well from front to back.

"We were not there to entertain but to get a result for the club and we did the job.

"We aim to do another job for the second leg. We've got big players like Danny Cullip and Charlie Oatway who make a lot of noise on the pitch and won't allow you to get away with it. Hopefully the fans can play their part too.

"We're not going to go out ridiculously and attack but we can't afford to sit back and invite pressure. We've got to get something out of the game."