Albion want Matt Clarke to make great strides in the Championship as he heads for a loan deal.

The recently-acquired centre-back is likely to secure a season-long stint at Derby County after heading to the East Midlands yesterday.

Albion, meanwhile, were still in negotiations with Bristol City over centre-back Adam Webster.

The Seagulls signed Clarke from League One outfit Portsmouth for about £3.5 million in June and he played in the pre-season friendly at Crawley.

But he did not appear to be a frontrunner in Graham Potter’s Premier League plans and they see a season towards the top end of the highly competitive Championship as a perfect next stage of his development.

Clarke could go into the left side of Phillip Cocu’s central defence at Derby.

He would be successor to former Albion loanee Fikayo Tomori, who has returned to parent club Chelsea.

Clarke is only 22 and has a contract with the Seagulls which runs until 2023, making him a potentially shrewd longer-term investment.

Albion have been given a taste of how valuable young defenders from the top end of the Championship can be, given it appears it would take about £20 million to prise Webster from Ashton Gate.

Negotiations between the the Seagulls and Bristol City were continuing yesterday.