Niki Maenpaa has signed a new one-year contract with Albion.

The 31-year-old Finland international will again compete with David Stockdale for a first-team spot next term.

His decision is likely to open the way for emerging keeper Christian Walton to go out on loan in the coming season.

Amendments to the rules agreed by the EFL (Football League) last week make it more practical for players, particularly goalkeepers, to go out on season-long loans with right of recall either to play or train.

Maenpaa has yet to make his Championship debut but played in three cup ties last season after signing from VVV-Venlo and offered stiff competition for the improved Stockdale.

He was particularly impressive in the narrow FA Cup defeat at Hull City in January.

His decision to re-sign gives the Seagulls impressive strength between the sticks.

Albion boss Chris Hughton said: “Niki has shown in the cup matches and in training that he’s an excellent goalkeeper.

“Alongside our other goalkeepers, we are really well covered in that area, and Niki really pushed and challenged David Stockdale throughout last season. I expect him to do the same again this season.

“Under (goalkeeper coach) Ben Roberts they’re an excellent group and work really well as a unit to help and support each other.”

Maenpaa has just returned from a spell away on international duty with Finland for their friendly matches against Belgium and Italy.