Kirsty Barton has revealed she would put her university studies on hold if she were offered a professional deal.

The Albion Women midfielder thoroughly enjoyed an FA Cup test against mighty Manchester City, despite the eventual 2-0 defeat.

It has whetted the appetite for a crack at WSL1 next season, which the Seagulls will enter as a full-time outfit.

Barton is studying to be a teacher and is in the penultimate year of her course.

But she hopes her performances over the rest of this season mean there is a big decision to be made next summer.

Barton, 25, helped Albion progress from the Premier League, or third tier, into WSL2, where they are going well in their fourth season.

She said: “I’ve really enjoyed it and I would love to be a part of WSL1 next season. I would grab that opportunity with both hands.

“I just need to keep working hard to get there.

“I’m part-time at the moment. I train three times a week.

“I’ve got my final year at university next year but I can complete that at another time.

“I’ve been so focused on my football but, as a kid, I never thought I’d be able to play full-time football.

“The way the game has gone, it could now be an option. I would take it if it was offered.

“I’m a bit different from other players who have full-time work and careers and are earning a good wage.

“I think the decision about turning professional would be harder for some of them.”

All of which leaves a lot to play for even though Albion know which division they will play in next term.

Barton felt there were signs of progress against City for an Albion side who lost 3-0 at home to Chelsea earlier in the campaign.

There were chances for Danielle Buet, Ini Umotong and Barton herself as, roared on by a crowd of 1,400, Albion were able to create more than they had against Chelsea.

She said: “I thought we held our own. We made it hard for Manchester City and the nice thing is we had a couple of chances on goal.

“I wasn’t expecting the one I had, to be honest. I made a run but I wasn’t expecting the ball to come to me.

“I thought Ini gave them a bit of trouble when she ran at them.

“It was good to have that game because this is the level we want to be at.

“It’s a massive learning curve and we still have a long way to progress.”

Buet and boss Hope Powell had warned Albion to expect a physical contest.

The hosts felt they coped with that aspect better than they had in the previous week’s league defeat at Doncaster.

Barton said: “I don’t know if it was because we knew it was going to be physical but I thought we bounced back from Doncaster in that respect.

“It was also really nice to have the vocal support.

“It’s a boost when you’re going forward and the crowd are cheering you on.

“It just gives you that extra bit of confidence and belief.”

Albion return to league action today as London Bees visit Culver Road (2pm) and Barton does not expect there to be any sense of anti-climax after recent big games.

Bees are in the bottom half of the table while the Seagulls remain fourth, albeit now seven points off top spot with a game in hand.

She said: “Everyone has the right attitude. We wouldn’t go into a game thinking it will be easy.

“We will be prepared and hopefully we carry across some of the positives from the Man City game.”