Rio Ferdinand is not the only centre half who has just unexpectedly become a captain.

Tommy Elphick has been given a taste of leading Albion and he would love the job permanently further down the line.

Elphick's big moment came in the closing stages of Monday's goalless draw against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, after former Falkirk captain Steven Thomson and current skipper Nicky Forster had both been substituted.

Elphick said: "It was by default I think. Thommo would obviously have been captain if he had still been on the pitch but, when Fozzie's number went up, he just came up to me and said bring them home' so he did make a point of giving it to me.

"When you are getting tired in the late stages of the game and you are taking that role on it helps to lift you more and rally the lads so it is good experience.

"I captained the reserves all last year but not the youth team, because I was on loan for most of that time.

"I would love to do it one day. It's a great honour. Probably the highest accolade you could get as a player is captaining your home club. That would be a great achievement for me."

The way Elphick and other youth team products , like his partner Joel Lynch and Dean Cox, coped with the occasion at the City Ground does not surprise coach Ian Chapman.

The former Albion full-back, who made his debut as a 16-year-old, said: "I had quite a few of the players when they were 12 or 13 so I knew them anyway and it is good to see them flourish.

"How far some of them can go I don't know but I think quite a few of them have got a really good chance.

"A lot of young lads have come in and over-achieved. They have been fantastic. They have not been overawed and they have done their jobs really well.

"I think they will take the rest of the season in their stride. On the training ground they have good fun. They work hard but they also enjoy themselves and I think they will be fine."

Chapman, like Elphick, has become a permanent fixture this season after giving up his joint role as manager of Whitehawk.

As ever with Albion, it certainly has not been dull. Boss Dean Wilkins had to rebuild mid-season and the Seagulls lost their way for a period but they are now right back in the shake-up for a play-off place.

Chapman said: "It has been a great experience for me and I am really enjoying it. To be where we are now is obviously better than being towards the middle or bottom of the table, like we were when we were struggling a bit just after Christmas, looking over our shoulders.

"When new players come in you always worry whether they are going to gel straight away. It takes time sometimes but the players we have brought in have done really well.

"The latest one, Therry Racon, has been different class. It feels like he has been here all season. He has fitted in so well."

Would Tommy Elphick make a good captain in the future?