Conor Wilkins has been awarded a professional contract with Albion – two years after dad Dean lost his job as manager.

Wilkins junior, a six-foot plus midfielder, is among six second-year scholars handed pro deals by the Seagulls.

He was starting out as a scholar when his father was axed by former chairman Dick Knight.

Albion’s director of youth Martin Hinshelwood said: “I think he found it really hard in the first three or four months but he grew up and life goes on, especially in football. You have to cope with that sort of thing.

“He’s got good passing vision, which runs in the family. He likes to play deep and we have been encouraging him to get forward more. He has also got to use his size a bit more than he does at the moment.”

Defenders Lewis Dunk, Grant Hall and James Smith, midfielder Ryan Thomson and highly-rated striker George Barker have also been given contracts of at least a year.

Winger Leon Redwood’s scholarship has been extended by a further 12 months after his first year was wiped out by a cruciate knee ligament injury but defender Lee Cooper has been released.

Albion have also offered scholarship deals to six schoolboys, including Jake Caskey and Douglas Tuck.

Caskey is the stepson of the Seagulls’ out-on-loan Charlton striker Nicky Forster, Tuck the nephew of ex-Albion defender Stuart Tuck.