Hope Powell believes Albion and other WSL sides having their own stadium would be the next big step for them and for the game to develop.

Chairman Tony Bloom has already invested massively into the women’s team with their new training facility, ‘The Women’s Hub’ within the American Express Elite Performance Centre, which they used for the first time on Wednesday and was part of a £25 million improvements to the training ground.

The Seagulls kicked off their 2021-22 WSL campaign last Sunday at the Amex in front of 2,264 fans as they beat West Ham 2-0.

But their next home game at the end of the month against Aston Villa will be back at the People’s Pension Stadium in Crawley, which is 21 miles and a 30-minute drive from the Amex.

Ahead of their trip to St Andrews this afternoon to face Birmingham (2pm), Powell was asked what she thinks the next big step for the women’s game is, to which she replied clubs like Albion having their own stadia for the WSL.

She said: “I’m probably being selfish but I am looking at stadia, Chelsea have got their own venue, we haven’t.

“We operate at Crawley because of the criteria needed to be a WSL club, so that is challenging.

“So, I am wondering if it is purpose-built stadia and then look if you have got your own stadia at things like VAR and goal-line technology, but it is not my money.

“What clubs like Brighton and owners like Tony have done for women’s football is absolutely fantastic, but stadia is one of things where we have got this facility, we play at the Amex on Sunday but our next home game will be at Crawley.

“So, I am kind of looking at the stadium is that the next thing and then if you build your own stadium then you can think about the cameras for VAR, stuff like that, so for me that is probably the next progression.”

At the annual fans’ forum on Wednesday night at the Amex, a supporter asked deputy chairman Paul Barber whether the women’s team could play at the Amex more regularly or get their own stadium.

He said: “First and foremost we would love to have the women’s team playing back in Brighton, but it is difficult to fit every game into this stadium all the time because of the demands on the pitch are already quite significant.

“In the world we are in the moment, it is the men’s first team which generates the significant income which helps us to run the club and sustains women’s football and the academy. So, we have to prioritise the men’s first in terms of the use of the pitch.

“That said we want to build the women’s game and play our part in that and therefore we are looking all the way through the fixture calendar for opportunities to bring home here and we will keep doing that.

“We know Crawley isn’t ideal, it is far from ideal in many ways and, if we can get more matches here, we will.

“But this is an expensive stadium to open. When we open it and we have got nearly 2,500 fans in here, it is not a cheap exercise on top of an already expensive commitment to the women’s game.

“Hope understands that and we are very open with Hope and her team about how many times we can get them into the stadium.

“When we can, we will, but more importantly, when there are options to get them back to the city, we will.”

Powell has revealed that now the women’s hub is open there is no excuse for her players not to be the best they can be.

She said: “I think the fact that everybody is in one place - men’s, women’s, boys and girls - you see other members of staff and exchange conversations in the corridor, perhaps have meetings, it just makes it a lot easier.

“The pitches are just two minutes away as opposed to having to get in the car and drive over to the university, which buys us more time.

“The quality of the pitches, the fact that everything is in one place, everything is accessible, being able to eat in the canteen again five-star food, which means we refuel properly, and the environment, it is just a nice place to work in and to be.

“All the rehab, the pool helps in terms of rest and recovery everything is in one place and location.

“It is just a building but it is how we utilise the building to allow the players to be the best they possibly can be.

“There is no excuses for them not to be now.

“I’m not saying they do make excuses but there is no excuse for not have everything at your disposal to be the very best you can be.”