Adam El-Abd has vowed not to use only eight minutes of action in the last eight weeks as an excuse at Charlton tonight.

El-Abd returns to the Albion starting line-up for the first time since featuring in the 5-2 victory at Wycombe Wanderers at the end of last year.

The versatile defender was ruled out by a fractured metatarsal bone in his right foot until a late appearance from the bench in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leeds.

El-Abd was thrown into the rearguard action at Elland Road at the expense of Kazenga LuaLua after Adam Virgo’s red card, as Leeds snatched an equaliser five minutes into stoppage time.

He replaces the suspended Virgo for the trip to The Valley with the Seagulls attempting to stretch their unbeaten away run in the league to six games.

El-Abd said: “Obviously I’ve had a setback with my foot and had to take some time out to get that better. Now it’s great to be back involved in the team.

“They said it would be four to six weeks and I think it was about five before I was back in training. The last couple of weeks has just been about getting my sharpness back and I feel good.

“Ideally you would like to have a run-out with the reserves before going straight back into action after so long out but that will not be an excuse.”

El-Abd’s opportunity to resume the reliable form he showed prior to his injury has come sooner than expected and not in circumstances he would have wished for following Virgo’s dismissal at Leeds for a tackle on Max Gradel.

He was sent off himself for a tackle in Albion’s home defeat by MK Dons in October and has some sympathy for his team-mate.

“You have got to make a choice, do I go in for it or not?” said El-Abd. “He went in for it and perhaps it was a sending off, perhaps it wasn’t.

“Unfortunately now he has got a ban which has happened to a few of us this year. They have not been for dissent or anything like that.

“He made an honest challenge. He didn’t go into hurt anyone, it was just slightly mistimed, that’s all.”

El-Abd has been used more frequently as a fullback than a centre-back this season. That was the case for Charlton’s 2-0 victory at Withdean in December but partnering Tommy Elphick at the heart of the defence will still be a familiar experience.

“I played there with him quite a lot under Dean Wilkins so it is not alien to either of us,” he said.

“It was extremely frustrating at the weekend but we have got to dust ourselves down and if we perform to the same kind of level I am sure we will be in with a shout.

“The boys have done magnificently recently from a defensive point of view. Hopefully we can carry that on.

“Alarm bells are ringing for us now to try to get some points on the board, because we don’t want to leave it to the last minute.”

El-Abd’s return and Virgo’s suspension coincide with further matches against third-placed Colchester, fifth-placed Swindon and Saturday’s visit by Exeter, who are immediately above Albion in the relegation zone on goal difference but have played a game more.

El-Abd admitted: “The next four games are massive, three of them against teams in the top five and Exeter which is going to be a cup final.”