Albion are facing a winter fixture backlog following the postponement of tomorrow's home tie against Preston in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Withdean pitch fell victim to the frosty weather again today after a noon inspection by local referee Steve Tomlin.

It will now be played on Tuesday January 15, which puts the possibility of a replay back to the fourth round date of January 26.

A win or draw for Albion against Preston would mean rearranging the League trip to promotion rivals Brentford on January 24.

The Seagulls have already had to reschedule home League games against Reading and Tranmere to midweek dates in February and they still have to find a date for the Northampton match, frozen off on New Year's Day.

Boss Peter Taylor said: "It's a little bit frustrating because it seems like we have a fixture pile-up.

"If we play on the 15th it shouldn't hurt us too badly, as long as the game doesn't then go to a replay.

"On the strength of the game being off I've got a bit more of a chance to get more people fit, because we are certainly going to need the squad for all the games we have got coming up."

The Preston tie will now count as the second of a two-match ban for Paul Rogers which also rules him out of the trip to his former club Wigan a week tomorrow.

Fellow midfielder Richard Carpenter said: "Everyone was looking forward to playing against Preston, but that's just the way it goes. Training all week has been very difficult and we've had to make the most of things.

"We are going to have a bit of a fixture backlog, but it gives us more of a chance when the ground conditions are back to normal."

Albion's FA Cup involvement threatens to cost them further ground in the Second Division promotion race, with a trio of the third-placed Seagulls' closest rivals in League action tomorrow.

Bristol City will return to top spot if they beat Wigan in a noon kick-off at Ashton Gate.

Reading will move above Albion if they avoid defeat at home to Queens Park Rangers and the same applies to Brentford, who tackle Chesterfield at Griffin Park.

More Albion stuff at