Albion have been told they could have their own version of title rival Matt Ritchie amid the ranks.

On-loan wideman Jordan Maguire-Drew has been likened to the Newcastle star by a man who has trained with both on a regular basis.

Maguire-Drew will return from his season at Dagenham to the Premier League Seagulls as one of several youngsters wondering what the next step holds.

Many of them were on view at the Amex on Wednesday as the under-23s beat Crawley Town 3-0 in the Sussex Senior Cup final.

They include out-of-contract Joe Ward, who had a stint with National League champions Lincoln City this season.

Both Maguire-Drew and Ward have shown how beneficial loan deals can be this season.

The former has made people really take notice at Dagenham, where he was named young player of the season.

And he has prompted that comparison with a man who, though suspended for the final game, hopes to celebrate the Chamapionship title at Albion’s expense on Sunday.

Whitehawk midfielder Glen Southam trains with his old club Dagenham during the week and he spotted the likeness straight away.

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Southam, pictured above, told The Argus: “I’ve been with Jordan since pre-season and he is a fantastic prospect.

“They are a good crop of youngsters and Jordan is a player who will go back to Brighton and play at a high level.

“He has learnt how to become a man very quickly. It’s a big difference to under-23 football.

“He reminds me a lot of Matt Ritchie, who came on loan to Dagenham from Portsmouth years ago and we said then he would progress.

“Like Matt, Jordan gets a lot of goals, he creates a lot of goals and he is an exciting player. He will do very well.”

Maguire-Drew was learning again on Thursday in the spotlight of the National League play-off semi-finals. The 19-year-old scored on the stroke of half-time to earn Dagenham a 1-1 draw at home against Forest Green.

Development boss Simon Rusk plans to watch him at some stage in the play-offs.

Rusk said: “It is brilliant for Jordan. He has chipped in with important goals and learned about what you do when you haven’t got the ball.

“Hopefully he is now part of a Dagenham team who win promotion back to the Football League.”

The task facing the Daggers is to join promoted champions Lincoln City, the club for whom Ward played.

Ward told The Argus. “They are great people there – the managers and the fans. The way they all connect, I’ve never seen anything like that.

“They like to press a lot and I picked that up.

“It was hard work, a lot more physical. You have to be quick mentally and you have to move the ball. The team talks were very motivational.”

Ward did not get quite the exposure Maguire-Drew enjoyed although he did his bit in a momentous season for the Imps.

He said: “I had four full games in the FA Trophy and scored three goals, did quite well.

“I hoped to start in the league but it didn’t happen and I got injured a couple of times. My contract is up now and it’s still undecided what I will do.”

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Joe Ward scores in the Parafix Senior Cup final

Ward scored the third goal in the Senior Cup final to nicely round off the two-year term for which he signed when he arrived from Chelmsford.

He said: “I have learnt a lot. The quality of some of the players here is ridiculous. I’ve learnt tactical awareness, defending, getting up and down the pitch.”

Rob Hunt helped Oldham pull away from relegation in League One and Christian Walton has chased play-off places both with Luton and latterly Southend, who were denied by a late Millwall goal on the final day.

It was tougher for Tom Dallison, who lost his place at Cambridge in League Two after signing last summer and then saw his loan club climb the table.

He returned to Albion in January and was part of a three-man defence against Crawley in midweek. Still, it is all experience – up to a point.

“You can’t send someone on loan and expect them to be treated differently,” Rusk said.

“They have got to fight for the shirt and experience what it is to be a first team player. But, from our point of view, we need that balance that they are still playing and still improving.”