Albion manager Mark McGhee has told Leon Knight to stay on his feet unless he is hurt.

McGhee's instruction to his goalscorer coincides with the appointment of a Premiership referee for the Seagulls' next match.

Rob Styles takes charge of Friday night's game against Port Vale at Withdean.

Knight was cautioned in controversial circumstances by referee Phil Joslin during Sunday's LDV Vans Trophy defeat at Queens Park Rangers.

He was caught off the ball by Rangers defender Clarke Carlisle following a free-kick and went down inside the penalty area.

Carlisle, branded a "bully" by McGhee, escaped punishment.

Joslin, after consulting his linesman, handed Knight his fifth booking of the season for over-reacting, which rules him out of Wycombe's visit on Boxing Day.

McGhee revealed: "I've spoken to Leon. He said he went in and got there too late to get to the ball and as he turned to come back out he got a whack in the back of the head.

"There are two issues, what Leon has to learn and where referees have to be fair.

"What Leon has to come to terms with is that, unless he is hurt, even if somebody kicks him or strikes him, then there is no need to go down.

"He has then got to trust that referees and linesmen are going to see these things and deal with it.

"I think then he has got a better chance of getting the sympathy of referees.

"He has got to be more difficult to knock down, there's no doubt about it."

McGhee is concerned Knight's frequent falls have gained him a reputation, not just among rival players and managers but referees as well.

That was demonstrated in the first half at Loftus Road when Knight went down following a challenge by Carlisle.

It took a long time before Joslin was persuaded by Rangers keeper Nick Culkin that he genuinely needed treatment.

McGhee is confident his little marksman will be protected by Styles on Friday night.

"He'll see anything that goes on, I've got absolutely no problem with that," McGhee said.

"But Leon has got to make it easy for him. He has got to be seen to be trying not to go down."

Styles, in charge because Graham Barber is unavailable, has dished out seven red cards and 34 yellow in seven Premiership matches this season.

The latest player to see red from the Waterlooville official was Arsenal and England fullback Ashley Cole for a dreadful two-footed lunge at Leicester's Ben Thatcher last Saturday.

Albion have the chance against seventh-placed Vale to narrow the gap on the two teams above them, Plymouth and QPR, for at least a few hours.

Plymouth are at Swindon on Saturday and leaders Rangers host Hartlepool.

Rangers' feisty boss Ian Holloway, who claimed Knight "needs handles on his shorts", feels Sunday's 2-1 victory for his side showed the Seagulls will last the promotion course.

Holloway said: "It was very close, nip and tuck, and it probably will be from now until the end of the season."

Meanwhile, Albion have urged fans to check ticket availability at Withdean now they are back in the Second Division.

The low turnout of 5,642 for the last home match against Wrexham was partly due to the small number of away supporters and Vale have returned over 300 tickets for Friday night's game.

Martin Perry, Albion's chief executive, said: "When a club returns tickets we do have tickets available for sale.

"This happens in a lot more cases in the Second Division than it did in the First Division.

"We have now re-opened the facility to allow fans to buy tickets online through our website, but it really is worthwhile inquiring to see whether tickets are available.

"There are a lot of people who think that it is impossible to get tickets and just do not try.

"We will always hold their contact numbers on file so that if tickets do become available at the last moment we can contact them."

Albion face another blank Saturday on January 3, the fourth in five weeks, as their scheduled hosts Luton are involved in the third round of the FA Cup.

It could be the same story on Saturday January 24, the fourth round date, when Barnsley are due to visit Withdean.

Barnsley are at home to Sheffield Wednesday or Scunthorpe in round three if they get past Danny Wilson's Bristol City in a second round replay at Oakwell next week.