Gus Poyet would be delighted to see Albion clinch promotion to the Premier League.

The former Seagulls boss says a top-two finish this season would represent the final step in a journey he kicked off at the club.

He has praised the work of Oscar Garcia and Chris Hughton in keeping Albion among the second tier’s top clubs.

And he reckons the winning spirit which started under his command has remained – albeit with a different playing style.

Poyet is currently in pre-season with his Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua.

He has been in the centre of publicity after seeing Carlos Tevez added to his squad.

It is the third overseas posting for London-based Poyet along with his staff of Mauricio Taricco, Charlie Oatway and goalkeeping coach Andy Beasley. They were in charge of AEK in Athens and then had a short but troubled stint in Seville at Spanish top-flight outfit Real Betis.

Now the quartet are out in the Far East but keeping a close eye on their former clubs.

Oatway has been back in Sussex recently and his boss also keeps an eye on Albion’s fortunes.

The Argus:

Gus Poyet and Albion celebrate the League One title in 2011

Poyet said: “When we arrived at Brighton, the club didn’t have a ground and were close to relegation from League One.

“We left them when they were close to going into the Premier and those years had a big impact on me.

“They had no stadium when we arrived and, in my last year, they had almost 30,000 people going to the new stadium.

“There is a very close relationship between the support there and the team. I feel proud of them.

“I still feel like Brighton is my club a little bit, a bit like what happened with Roberto Martinez after he left Swansea.

“It was us who started a job which Oscar followed with his own personality and now Hughton is continuing.

“The football Brighton play now is more direct, maybe, but the spirit that was there with us remains.”

Poyet has no doubts about the magnitude of the achievement should Albion secure promotion, especially after experiencing other leagues.

He says he would feel a small part of the success should Albion go up.

Bruno is the only current Albion regular who was brought to the club by Poyet.

Kazenga LuaLua, currently on loan at QPR, and third-choice goalkeeper Casper Ankergren were also his signings.

The Argus:

Poyet appreciates the job Hughton is doing in the Championship

Perhaps his biggest legacy is that of Lewis Dunk, who broke into the first team and became established as a Championship defender under his management.

Poyet spotted him during an FA Youth Cup tie against Everton when all the pre-match talk had been about George Barker, a striker now playing for Havant and Waterlooville.

And Glenn Murray enjoyed, until now, his finest season for the club when they won League One under Poyet’s command.

Poyet added: “English football isn’t better or worse than others but it’s different. Without including last season, which was a special case, the favourites win the Premier League. But no favourite ever strolls at any ground.

“You have to fight, suffer and, at the end, the ones who can cope the best end up winning. The second division in England could be the hardest and most difficult league of all.

“Winning promotion has a lot of merit but to do it via the play-offs is even more difficult. We were close to it and Brighton have suffered in recent years but promotion for Brighton to the Premier League would make me happy, of course.

“Years ago now, they started a project and that has grown. Now they just need to take the final step and, in some ways, I would feel as if I had been part of that success.”

Play-off defeat in May 2013 led to Poyet being suspended and later dismissed by the club, whose ability to match his own ambition he had questioned following that semi-final exit to Crystal Palace.

As it turns out, Albion have continued to back managers impressively in subsequent seasons as they chase the top-flight dream.

Poyet’s was a horrible, acrimonious end and has led to some fans taking pleasure in any managerial setbacks he has gone on to experience.

The latest was at Betis, a job he admitted he was wrong to take.

He said: “I made a mistake going to Betis and I recognise that now.

“I had memories of playing for Zaragoza in the 1990s and how it was but things have changed.

“In pre-season we beat Werder Bremen, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Sporting (of Lisbon). We drew with Leipzig, who have been the surprise team in the Bundesliga, and with Everton, deserving to win.

“But we lost to Córdoba and that was all anyone talked about. Nothing else counted. I couldn’t understand it.

“Regret isn’t the right word. It was my decision to go there and I was convinced it was the right one.

“What I remember is, in the first game of the season, we lost at Barcelona (6-2) and against that fantastic performance by Messi and already in the first home game, against Deportivo La Coruña, the atmosphere had turned against me.

“I got the offer from China at a good moment, when I was still trying to forget the disappointment at Betis.

“I spoke to my staff and we agreed it was a good opportunity.

“China is an adventure because of the way their football is growing.”