Adam El-Abd will be playing for Albion at The Amex after earning another new contract.

The Brighton-born centre-half has agreed a two-year extension to his deal with the League One leaders, covering their first two seasons at the American Express Community Stadium.

El-Abd, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season, told The Argus: “It means everything really. It has been the aim ever since I was in the School of Excellence when I was 14 or 15 and the plans were first submitted to the Council.

“It’s been a long time in coming but to actually still be here and to get the opportunity to walk out at the new stadium and hopefully play will be fantastic.”

El-Abd was the first player Gus Poyet awarded a new contract to after he was appointed manager 16 months ago.

The 26-year-old has flourished under the Uruguayan, proving that he is not just a combative and dependable defender but also capable of adapting to the passing style from defence demanded by Albion’s first foreign boss.

El-Abd, banned for Carlisle’s visit today, said: “It’s the way the gaffer wants to play. If you don’t give him what he wants then you are going to be on the sidelines, so you have to make yourself available for the ball. We feel that is the way forward to achieve what we want to achieve.

“It’s a great way to play and I feel privileged to be part of a team that plays that way. All the boys in the dressing room are really enjoying it and that is reflected in the results we are getting.

“The gaffer, Tano (Mauricio Taricco) and Charlie (Oatway) have been really good to me. They have given me a lot of confidence and shown a lot of faith in me, which has enabled me to play better football.

“The gaffer has improved me, as he has the team. I am not the only one flourishing under his management and guidance, that can be said for a number of players.

“It’s really good to be part of something special at the moment. Hopefully we can go on and cement our place in history in the Championship.”

El-Abd has made 265 appearances for Albion, 45 of them in the Championship. Poyet is convinced he can step back up to the next level.

“I have got no doubts,” he said. “If I had any doubts I wouldn’t be giving him this new contract. We have been checking plenty of things with the centre halves for the next few years and we are quite pleased with the four we have got. He is one of the four I want to keep for a long time.

“Adam has been in superb form ever since we took over. He is an outstanding professional and he fully deserves this new contract. He has earned his deal and I am sure those other players whose deals end this season will now want to do the same.”

Thirteen other players with first team experience are out of contract at the end of the season, including El-Abd’s fellow regulars Liam Bridcutt, Gary Dicker and Glenn Murray.