Skip to main content

Dale Stephens is ‘still our player’ says Brighton boss Graham Potter

Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Brighton manager Graham Potter has played down talk of Dale Stephens joining Burnley by insisting he is “still our player”.

Stephens, who hails from Lancashire, has reportedly been targeted by the Clarets as Burnley boss Sean Dyche attempts to strengthen his squad at Turf Moor.

The 31-year-old has made over 220 appearances for Brighton since joining from Charlton in 2014 but the midfielder has not featured in the Premier League this season.

“I haven’t heard anything,” Potter said about a reported Burnley bid for Stephens ahead of his side’s third-round Carabao Cup tie at Preston on Wednesday.

“I’ve been out training this morning so I’ve not caught anything. He’s still our player.”

Seagulls defender Haydon Roberts, 18, has also been linked with Leeds but Potter dismissed the speculation, saying: “I’m not aware of that.

“Again there’s lots of speculation and agents busy mixing things around. This time of year that’s how it is.”

Brighton have bounced back from an opening Premier League defeat to Chelsea with wins over Portsmouth and Newcastle in the past week.

After that impressive 3-0 win on Tyneside, Potter is likely to revert to a similar line-up to the one that ensured Carabao Cup progress by thumping Portsmouth 4-0.

“It’s difficult to play a Premier League game on Sunday and then another one on Saturday at 12 o’clock,” said Potter, mindful that Manchester United visit the Amex Stadium less than 72 hours after Brighton’s trip to Deepdale.

“It will be a lot like the previous (Portsmouth) game where we’ll use the squad.

“We’ll have a strong team hoping to win the game, but we’re playing against a good team.

“I know Alex’s teams well from my time at Swansea. I have respect for him and he gets his teams organised really well.

“They’re aggressive, they play on the front foot, play good football.

“They are strong and physical and it will be a good test for us.”

The winners will be at home to either Luton or Manchester United in the fourth round and Potter believes progress in the competition will help them in the Premier League.

He said: “We’ll have a team that will be enthusiastic to play.

“It’s a chance to gain minutes on the pitch so when there’s a Premier League opportunity they are ready and prepared to play.

“It’s a competition we’d like to progress in, and it’s our next game so we want to focus everything on that.”