Albion have awarded professional contracts to ten teenagers, including eight which made club history by reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.

Defender Joel Lynch has signed a three-year deal and striker Joe Gatting, who has also broken into the first team, is in negotiations over a contract for the same length.

Goalkeeper John Sullivan, centre half Tommy Elphick and midfielders Tommy Fraser and Scott Chamberlain have all been given two years, fullback Paul Hinshelwood and midfielder Wes Fogden a year apiece.

Third-year scholars Dean Cox and Sam Rents, who were too old to feature in the FA Youth Cup, have also been handed deals for next season.

Chairman Dick Knight said: "This is unprecedented at this club and, I would suspect, at most clubs.

"Two others that are already pros, Jake Robinson and Richard Martin, are from the same age group.

"It's hats off to Dean Wilkins (youth coach) and Martin Hinshelwood (director of football).

"One of my first objectives when I came in was to reorganise the youth set-up and they have done brilliantly.

"It speaks volumes for the future of the club that we have got so many young players coming through."

Thirteen other members of the existing first team squad are aged 23 or under, so the Seagulls will have the youngest set of pros in their history next season.

The group will not include Lee Carey, Steve May, Adam Mountford, Ashley Jarvis, Dan Leach and Dan Taylor, all of whom are being released. Mountford has been forced to quit by a knee injury.

Meanwhile, manager Mark McGhee warned his players today they must all be on their game to upset promotion-chasing Preston.

The relegation-threatened Seagulls have been punished for individual errors during a run of six straight defeats.

McGhee insists he cannot afford any passengers as the fight for Championship survival continues at Withdean tomorrow.

"I get the sense the supporters are still right behind us and that is fantastic," McGhee said.

"But one of the things frustrating them is that there has never been a game where they have been able to say the whole team was rubbish.

"It's a little bit like plugging the dam, you block one hole and it pops somewhere else.

"Last Saturday Wayne (Henderson) made a mistake, the week before Adam (El-Abd) made a mistake.

"At Crewe in the second half Alex (Frutos) disappeared, Harty (Gary Hart) had a poor game. We cannot have that, it has got to be sustained.

"The fans are getting frustrated that we don't all turn up on the same day and that is going to be my message to the team. We cannot afford anyone not to be turning up.

"We need 11. If we get 11 we have got a chance. We've got to get that, we cannot keep shooting ourselves in the foot."

Albion are five points adrift of safety with nine games to go but McGhee is adamant his players have the stomach to stay up.

"I keep saying this, and people will only believe it when we do win a game, but we remain really positive.

"You only needed to see them training this week. They were boiling and angry. That is what gives us a chance."

Four extra rows of seats have been added to the back of the new family stand in the northeast corner at Withdean.

The new east stand has also been erected, although it won't be open until the visit of Luton on March 25.

Former Seagull Adam Virgo,
now at Celtic, has been named in the Scotland Future squad to face Turkey at Inverness next Wednesday.