Rob Hunt says a League One loan stint is toughening him up to challenge for an Albion place.

But the 21–year-old old right-back is putting ambitions with the Seagulls on hold while he helps fight a battle against relegation.

Hunt hopes to pass a late fitness test on a hamstring problem in time to play for Oldham against leaders Sheffield United today.

He has been earning high praise from Latics manager John Sheridan while Seagulls boss Chris Hughton keeps tabs from afar.

Hunt told the Argus: “It’s proper men’s football. There’s a lot of low risk football played. I’ve loved every minute of it. I love having the opportunity to play.

“It’s hard to say what will happen in the summer. At the moment it’s Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday so I haven’t really stopped to think about that.

“Probably I’ve grown up in football terms in the last few weeks. I’ve matured as a player and person.

“I try to go forward but we are in a relegation battle. It’s about a clean sheet first and foremost.”

If Hunt is not risked today, he will target an outing in front of family and friends back in his home county of Essex when Oldham visit Southend next Saturday.

He has shrugged off the frustration of being out of the picture at the Amex in recent weeks when Albion suffered injuries to their full-backs.

Hunt added: “Brighton wanted me to go and get games and they didn’t think something like that was going to happen.

“I haven’t spoken to the gaffer (Hughton) since I’ve been here. He has got enough on his plate with getting the boys promoted.

“But I’ve spoken to quite a few of the under-23 players and staff.”