Albion want to become the type of club they are now threatening to leave behind.

Former defender Mark Lawrenson believes they can start the process by staying in the Premier League this season.

Stoke and Southampton, the sides held by the Seagulls to successive 1-1 draws in their last two away games, are now in the relegation zone with West Brom, another established top flight club.

Stoke hit a ceiling with a hat-trick of ninth-placed finishes under ex-manager Mark Hughes.

Boss Chris Hughton (below) is unsure of the limit for Albion - but finding out is dependent on survival.

The Argus: Hughton told The Argus: "There is always a lot spoken about the potential here with what we have as regards catchment area, stadium. At the moment we are filling the stadium, which is great to see.

"But it is very difficult to say. This is our first season in the Premier League. Of course what we want is to become an established Premier League team.

"The only way you can analyse that is by being there so a Southampton, similar sized club and support base, have had a few more years.

"I think it's very difficult until you have been in the division for a few seasons. We've got to look at Stoke who have become an established very much middle of the table or just above team. We want to become an established club."

Lawrenson (second right below) was part of the Albion side which survived in 16th in their first season ever in the top flight under Alan Mullery in 1979-80, then 19th the following year before he made a trophy-laden move to Liverpool and became recognised as one of the best defenders of his generation.

The Argus: The long-serving BBC pundit is impressed by the way the club is run and managed, and the squad they have assembled in the Premier League.

He said in an exclusive interview with The Argus: "I think Brighton have done well and Tony Bloom who runs it has been an absolute saviour for them.

"His grandad (Harry) was vice-chairman when I was there. Look at what they've done with the ground and the training ground.

"I think Chris Hughton's a very good manager, he's very pragmatic. They know what they want and say they finish 17th, they'll give him another trench of money and then they can go again.

"I also think they look at the players they've signed and say 'you know what, if we go down they'll probably be good enough to get us back' so I like the way that they're thinking.

"It's difficult as well at that level because you're competing against an awful lot of other clubs, probably eight or nine, for the same players all the time so it's very easy to spend all your money and waste it.

"But they're well coached, well managed and certainly well run, and I think of the promoted teams they've got the best chance of survival."

Lawrenson correctly predicted Albion's result against Stoke at the weekend. Fans will be hoping he is spot-on again because he is tipping them to avoid relegation, especially after re-signing Leo Ulloa and landing record buy Jurgen Locadia last month.

Lawrenson said: "When you go into the dressing room and you look at Ulloa and the boy from PSV, you're thinking 'wow we've got a real chance now'.

"Obviously they've got one or two goalscorers like Murray, who's more of a Championship player but he got another goal against West Ham and they got a very good result.

"I think Brighton will stay up. Chris has never been under pressure and that's a really good thing from the club's point of view.

The Argus: "You're not reading in the newspapers that his job's under pressure. I think that comes from the top and Tony Bloom (above) knows that he's got a good manager. If they finish 17th, they've absolutely swam the channel."

Albion resume the relegation fight after Saturday's FA Cup fifth round tie at home to Coventry with another significant fixture the following weekend at the Amex against Swansea, dramatically resuscitated by ex-Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal.

There are two other six-pointers on the same day for the other two promoted teams. Newcastle, where Lawrenson had a stint as defensive coach during the reign of Kevin Keegan, go to Bournemouth and Huddersfield visit rock-bottom West Brom.

Lawrenson said: "I think there will be a team in the last five or six fixtures that won't win a game and quite honestly that could be anybody.

"Stoke worry me, although it looks like they've got a bit of fighting spirit back and Shawcross looks like he's starting to be the player that he was because they've seriously missed him in terms of his competitiveness.

"I still think Swansea will go down, They've lost two players in Ayew and Fer out for the rest of the season. They've had a really good run but what follows a good run when you're at the bottom? Another bad run.

"So I'm going Huddersfield, Swansea and I'm tempted to say West Brom but I think Sturridge might get them some goals if he can stay fit, which will be a bit of a Lazarus moment for him.

"My third would be a little bit left field. Watford, only because they've got this model where they basically have two managers every season and if one doesn't particularly work, they bring a new one in and he does work. But I just feel that they seem to have lost the soul of the club.

"I just look at them and think they could well be that team that loses the last six games and falls into the abyss."

Mark Lawrenson was speaking to