Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens says the international break has arrived at the wrong time for him as he aims to establish a starting position in the Albion line-up.
The 25-year-old has started the last three matches for Chris Hughton’s side after being sidelined for more than nine months with an ankle injury, and is now determined to hold down a regular place in Albion’s midfield.
Stephens told seagulls.co.uk: “I’d like to play another game. The group is confident, and we’d like to play another Tuesday and Saturday, especially off the back of a good result [at Blackburn]. Personally I don’t want a break, I’ve had long enough out and I just want to play football.
“I told the gaffer I want to play in every minute of every game so hopefully I can push towards doing that.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do in the gym but I need to do it if I want to carry on playing and I want to play in every game. My ankle is feeling good and hopefully we can continue our good form.”
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Albion are ten points clear of the relegation zone, but with a tough fixture list ahead – including promotion-hopefuls Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford and Middlesbrough – Stephens insists the Seagulls must not rest on their laurels between now and the end of the season.
“Recently we’ve beaten Derby at home. I think playing the top teams brings the best out of us, but the teams in and around us are the most important games.
“We’re definitely looking to pick up points from every game. If we can do that against the teams in and around us then it will stand us in good stead.
“We’ve got games we still need to win and we still need to pick up points, so we know the job is not over.”