Joe Bennett has opened up the possibility of making his loan move from Aston Villa permanent and ending Albion’s dependence on temporary left-backs.

The Seagulls are relying on a loan solution for the third season in succession, with Bennett borrowed for the campaign after Wayne Bridge and Stephen Ward.

Bennett has been a regular for Albion and the 24-year-old Lancastrian, bought by Villa from Middlesbrough for £2.75 million two-and-a-half years ago, is keen on the idea of staying on the South Coast.

He revealed to The Argus: “I think it is a possibility if everything goes to plan.

“I haven’t really had a chat with the manager, I’m not sure if he wants a permanent left-back.

“I’m sure the club probably do. They’ve had a few loans in – Wayne Bridge and Ward – I’ll have to have a chat with him at the end of the season and see what he wants and see what Aston Villa want me to do, if they want to keep me.

“Villa have been keeping an eye on me, not directly the manager (Paul Lambert), but the scouts come and watch games to see how I’m doing.

“I’ve got another year left, so there might be a fee involved. I’ll have to keep my options open but I think it is maybe a possibility that I could come here permanently.

“The main thing is that you are happy as a player. When you are happy off the pitch you are going to be playing the best you can on the pitch.

“That is a main factor for me, being happy and settled. I’m really happy here, so I can’t ask for anything more.”

Meanwhile, boss Chris Hughton says his concentration is on bringing players in during the January transfer window rather than letting any go.

The Argus revealed last week that Sheffield United have an agreement in principle to take back robust centre-forward Chris O’Grady, although it is dependent on Albion signing a replacement. There has also been speculation about the future of out-of-favour midfielder Paddy McCourt.

Hughton said: “I can’t say that nobody will be going anywhere but at this moment 95% of my thoughts are on who can come in. If we end up moving somebody on it will only be because we end up being happy with the squad we’ve got.

“He (O’Grady) is the only striker of that type we have here, so at this moment he is still very much a Brighton player.”