Albion boss Sami Hyypia is keeping an open mind about the role of Kazenga LuaLua as the explosive winger creeps towards a half-century of league starts for the club.

Hyypia has labelled LuaLua a “great option” to have up his sleeve but has not ruled out giving him more game time.

LuaLua, 23, has started three matches and made four substitute appearances since the Finn became manager in the summer.

Hyypia said: “He has started a few games but when he has come on he has made the impact and has changed the game many times.

“I don’t know if that will be his role from now on but he is one part of this team and it’s great to have somebody on the bench who can change the game. I’m not saying he won’t start again but it’s a great option to have to change the game.”

LuaLua has made 48 league starts for Albion and 60 substitute appearances in two divisions under three managers since signing permanently from Newcastle United after multiple loan spells.

Hyypia’s predecessors Gus Poyet and Oscar Garcia were particularly reluctant to start with the unpredictable Congolese talent in away games.

LuaLua is now in his sixth season with the Seagulls after the club triggered an option in May to extend his contract by another year.