Andrew Crofts is creeping closer to his Albion comeback.

And when he eventually makes the 50th appearance of his second spell with the Seagulls, it will be as part of a dramatically changed team.

Crofts took part in full training sessions with the squad in Spain but was not involved in either of the friendlies against Partick Thistle or Real Betis.

Albion have three more warm-up matches now that they are back in England, at Crawley tomorrow night, at Peterborough on Saturday and against Southampton at the Amex on July 31, nine days before the opening Championship fixture at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

It is still unclear exactly when Crofts will be available to manager Sami Hyypia after the ruptured cruciate knee ligament damage suffered by the Welsh international against Birmingham in January.

Six other starters under former boss Oscar Garcia that afternoon at the Amex are no longer at the club.

Crofts will not have Keith Andrews or David Lopez for company in midfield when he returns.

The defence for the 1-0 victory over Birmingham included Tomasz Kuszczak and Stephen Ward, the attack was spearheaded by Leo Ulloa.

With the possible exception of Ward, the squad Crofts rejoins under Hyypia will have a very different look to it when Albion go to Birmingham for the towering Finn's first away game in charge a week after Sheffield Wednesday's visit.

The midfield competition for Crofts currently includes Rohan Ince - who was one of the other three starters in the Birmingham match - Nzuzi Toko, Jake Forster-Caskey, Solly March, Kemy Agustien and Dale Stephens.

Crofts' 49 appearances so far since rejoining Albion from Norwich City two years ago reflect the uncommon injury troubles endured by the fitness fanatic.

The 30-year-old was plagued by a hamstring problem in his first season back, then the season-ending damage sustained against Birmingham left him one short of his half-century.

Crofts made 50 appearances in less than a year for Albion in his first stint in League One under Gus Poyet before helping Norwich to promotion and playing for them in the Premier League.

Poyet made him captain back then and he was an influential figure. He had recaptured that kind of form under Oscar with five league goals prior to the end of November before disaster struck against Birmingham.

The final year of his contract will be a big one for Crofts under Hyypia.

His mobile, high-energy style suits the type of game Hyypia wants to play but will both Crofts and Stephens fit into the former Liverpool legend's midfield plans?

The latter, effectively signed in January from Charlton as Crofts' replacement, is further away from a comeback, having missed the Spanish trip to continue his recovery from the ruptured ankle ligament he suffered against Yeovil at the Amex at the end of April.

Both are likely to face further competition, with Hyypia expected to add another midfielder to his squad.

Meanwhile, the versatile Bradley Barry was back in action for Albion in Spain, both for the under 21's and as a second half substitute for the first team against Partick Thistle.

Gareth Barry's 18-year-old nephew had been sidelined for 11 months by a leg injury.