CHRISTIAN WALTON wants Mathew Ryan’s No.1 spot at Albion.

The youngster on loan to the Seagulls’ fellow FA Cup quarter-finalists Wigan has set his sights on eventually taking over from Australian Ryan.

Walton, 22, said in an exclusive interview with The Argus: “I signed for another four years in the summer. I want to be Brighton’s No.1 as soon as I can. That is the only way I can look at it and that’s the goal I’ve got set in my head.

“Doing well in these loan spells is vital to reach that target. Over the next year to 18 months it’s probably going to be a big time in my career, to try to reach that No.1 shirt and compete with Maty Ryan.”

Walton, who has also been loaned out to Bury, Plymouth, Luton and Southend, was handed his senior debut by Sami Hyypia for Albion at the age of 19 in a League Cup tie at Spurs three seasons ago because of an injury crisis.

He made two further appearances in the Championship at the Amex during the Finn’s ill-fated reign and one away for current boss Chris Hughton.

“At the time you are just grateful for the opportunity at such a young age,” Walton said. “I felt I took my chance in the games I played and did all I could, but to be playing at that level at such a young age as a goalkeeper is not really something you see, especially in English football.

“I always knew I wasn’t going to cement a place. It was more about me going out on loan and getting different experiences, which has benefited me.”

Walton faces faces a possible nightmare scenario if League One Wigan pull off another shock at home to Southampton on Sunday after dumping out Bournemouth, West Ham and Manchester City.

The 6ft 5in Cornishman said: “The last thing I want is for us to win through to the semi-final and miss out on Wembley because I won’t be able to play. Brighton have obviously got a tough game against Man United and we have got a tough tie at home to Southampton. I’m not going to look that far ahead. It wouldn’t be great if we did meet, but I am just looking forward to the (Southampton) game first.”