Albion keeper Christian Walton could be set to end his long wait for a start at the Amex tomorrow afternoon in their FA Cup fourth round tie against Blackpool.

That is after Jason Steele, who was the hero for the Seagulls in their win over Newport in the third round, has been ruled out due to illness.

Head coach Graham Potter said: “He is still feeling poorly, so I don’t think he will be ready for the game.

“It will be Rob Sanchez or Christian Walton, we will decide on that closer to the game.”

It means the 25-year-old could be set for his first start at home in over six years.

That was against Blackburn in the Championship in November, 2014, when Sami Hyypia’s was in charge.

Walton, who was 19 at the time, had been tipped to go on and become a big player for the Seagulls.

But he only made one further appearance that season, before then spending the next five out on loan at Bury, Plymouth, Luton, Southend, Wigan and most recently Blackburn.

After Albion decided not to loan him out in the summer many thought he would be the one to challenge Maty Ryan for the No.1 shirt.

However, things have not quite gone to plan with Walton picking up an ankle injury in the friendly against Chelsea in August, which saw him sidelined for over two months.

Since then, he has only featured for Albion’s U23’s against Manchester United in November.

In that time Ryan has lost his place to Sanchez as the No.1 and has not played since their 3-0 defeat to Leicester last month.

In Steele’s absence, Walton has been named on the bench in their last two Premier League games.

Potter was asked if the FA Cup could provide the perfect solution for Walton, to which he replied: “Yes, [the match against Blackpool] could be [the solution to Walton’s situation]. The way football is things change quickly.

“What is the right solution last week is a different one this week, that’s how it is.

“What is clear is Christian has got ambition to play, he wants to play football, he backs his ability and rightly so.”

Potter’s admission about either Sanchez or Walton starting does mean that Ryan looks set to miss out on the squad again.

The Australian international has not been part of the Seagulls squad in their last eight games in all competitions.

That saw Ryan reveal last month he is ‘free to leave Albion’ if they get a good enough offer.

Asked if the situation had changed, Potter replied: “There is nothing to report.

“It’s that time of course where you understand Maty’s position but there is nothing to update you on.”

However, Potter did understand that Ryan is keen to play.

He said: “Maty also wants to play, he has had a fantastic career and experience in the Premier League, so he wants to continue that.

“Always you have got to take that and respect that, but at the same time this is the Premier League as well and not everybody can play.

When players sign up [to a club] they sign up to that competition and at times frustration and they have to manage that.”

It is not just Steele who will miss the game against Blackpool.

Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Adam Lallana, Aaron Connolly and Danny Welbeck have all been ruled out through injury.

Potter said: Aaron is making progress he will probably be in training with the group tomorrow.  “Adam is feeling a lot better after feeling poorly, but will probably need some training time before we look at games.

“Danny is making progress. It’s a little bit slower than we thought but he is still making progress and we are looking at a couple of weeks maybe for him.

It’s similar for Tariq. Ali again will be a couple of weeks.”