Brighton chief offers mysterious transfer update on Burnley target Dale Stephens

Graham Potter discusses the future of his key midfielder ahead of Wednesday night's Carabao Cup clash at Preston
Dale Stephens is wanted by Premier League rivals BurnleyDale Stephens is wanted by Premier League rivals Burnley
Dale Stephens is wanted by Premier League rivals Burnley

Burnley remain keen to add Albion midfielder Dale Stephens to their ranks before the end of the summer transfer window.

Stephens has not featured in either Brighton's Premier League match day squads so this season but did play for Graham Potter's team in the 4-0 triumph against Portsmouth in the previous round of the Carabao.

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Burnley manager Sean Dyche is a long-term admirer of Stephens and tried to sign the midfielder after they gained promotion to the Premier League in 2016.

The Clarets are short of options in midfield following the departure of Jeff Hendrick to Newcastle, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jack Cork are out with injuries.

Stephens, who is from Lancashire and has a year remaining on his contract, was a key man for Albion at the start of last season and made 28 Premier League starts for Graham Potter's men.

He was hindered towards the end of the campaign by niggling injuries and the emergence of Yves Bissouma and Steven Alzate could see the 31-year-old struggle for a regular role.

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Stephens did well against Portsmouth despite coming off in the final minutes after feeling 'tightness' in his leg. He was left out of the team to face Newcastle but Potter said he is fit for Preston tomorrow if required.

"Yeah, he is," said Potter when asked if he is available for the trip to Deepdale Stadium. "Like I said, he's still our player. He'll be recovered by the game. We'll take the decision over the next 24 hours whether he is involved in the game against Preston.

"I haven’t heard anything, (regarding Burnley) I have been out training this morning so I haven’t caught up with anything. He is still our player."

Potter equally wasn't in the mood to indulge in transfer speculation surrounding the possible arrival of Rhian Brewster from Liverpool or a potential loan of young defender Haydon Roberts to Leeds.

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"Not as far as I am aware," He said of Roberts. "There is lots of speculation, agents are busy mixing things around this time of year, that’s how it is. Nothing to say on that."

Potter changed the entire XI and subs bench for the previous round of the Carabao following the defeat to Chelsea and he expects to make a host changes for Preston after Sunday's fine win at Newcastle.

"It’s difficult to play a Premier League game on Sunday and then another one this Saturday at 12 o’clock (Manchester United), so it will be a lot like the previous game where we will use the squad.

"We will have a strong team that will hopefully win the game, we’re playing against a good team. I know Alex and his team well, we played against them last year with Swansea, I’ve got a lot of respect for him.

"He gets his teams organised really well. They’re aggressive, they play on the front foot, they play good football, they’re strong and physical, it will be a good test for us."