Albion manager Micky Adams fears the poor state of the Withdean pitch could hinder his team's promotion bid.

Tuesday's game against Cardiff survived yet another pitch inspection.

Referee Mike North gave the go ahead after even more sand had been spread across the playing surface.

Adams admitted: "I am worried about it. If there is one thing that might stop us progressing this season it's the pitch.

"It is not in a good state at the moment. We are a side which likes to get the ball down and play as much as we can.

"The pitch at times stops us from doing that."

Adams attaches no blame to Stadium managers Ecovert South. 'Ecovert have worked ever so hard to get the last two games on, so well done to them,' he added.

Drainage work carried out in the summer has, in fact, improved things compared to last season.

The number of matches to be played on the pitch this season has halved following the demise of Withdean FC, but it is still in a pretty appalling state by Football League standards.

There are two particularly bad patches, by the dugouts on the south side and either side of the halfway line in front of the north stand.

Halifax defender Chris Wilder, who played for Albion last season, also expressed concern following his team's 2-1 defeat on Saturday.

"The pitch might be a bit of a hinderance for them," he said. "They played some good football for a 20 minute spell in the second half.

Changed "They have changed their style from last year, with one up front and five in midfield, and they are passing it about a lot more.

"Withdean is not going to help any footballing side, but if Brighton come through the Christmas period and we get a bit more dry weather it should help."

Adams switched back to three centre halves by re-introducing Andy Crosby for Tuesday's 2-0 win against Cardiff in the LDV Vans Trophy.

That was more a case of playing a formation to suit the personnel in a makeshift side. But could the pitch tempt Adams to revert back to last season's more direct route?

"The tactics are obviously working at the moment, so I don't suppose Micky is going to change it at the moment," Wilder said.

"As soon as he thinks it does need changing though he will. He's a clever man. He knows the score."

Albion were relieved to get the Cardiff fixture out of the way. Ecovert now have until the Friday night visit of Exeter on December 22 to repair and re-turf the worst-hit areas.

Adams' assistant Bob Booker said: "To keep having pitch inspections before games is not a situation you want to be in.

""It is unsettling, so that has got to be addressed. We hope to get it sorted out."

Meanwhile, Saturday's FA Cup tie at Scunthorpe will bring back mixed memories for the son of a former Albion favourite.

Darragh Ryan scored within nine minutes of coming on for his away debut at Glanford Park four seasons ago in a 2-0 victory for the Seagulls.

He was only 17 and it proved to be the high point of his Albion career.

Darragh broke his right leg in two places at Peterborough a couple of weeks later, a chilling repeat of the horror injury which cut short dad Gerry's illustrious career with the Seagulls.

Ryan junior was ruled out for 16 months and eventually released after struggling to recapture his form.

Now the ex-Eire youth international is rebuilding his life at the University College Dublin and has just helped them through to the League Cup final.

Gerry, who owns the Witch Inn in Lindfield, said: "He is playing at leftback and he is also doing a sports degree.

"This is his second year out there. He is getting on fine and seems to be enjoying himself.

"It took him a bit of time to settle in. He is only a young lad and he's had a few knocks, breaking his leg and then being let go.

"Although he scored he never really showed what he could do in Brighton's first team, but he is talented and could still do well."