Saturday 29 April 2017

Dale Stephens urges Brighton to make history by winning promotion

Midfielder Dale Stephens joined Brighton from Charlton in 2014
Midfielder Dale Stephens joined Brighton from Charlton in 2014

Dale Stephens has urged his Brighton team-mates to write their names into the club's history books.

The Sky Bet Championship leaders will end a 34-year exile from the top flight if they better Huddersfield's result on Monday, with a win practically guaranteeing their ascent due to superior goal difference.

Chris Hughton's side host struggling Wigan while the Terriers go to Derby in the late kick-off, potentially forcing Brighton to wait to discover their fate.

Their Premier League chance comes 20 years after they almost dropped out of the Football League and were homeless, playing at Gillingham, when their old Goldstone Ground home was sold.

And after the tales of woe, which include playing at old athletics ground the Withdean Stadium, midfielder S tephens wants to create some different stories.

He said: "We get told about it a lot! I played against Brighton at the Withdean for Oldham so I know a bit about the history.

"We are reminded about it by the fans and everyone wants us to get promoted to take this group of players to the next level.

"If we do it it'll be a massive achievement for everyone. It'll be fully deserved. If we do it it'll go down in the history of the football club and I'll be proud to be a part of it."

Hughton's men are four points clear of second-placed Newcastle in the race for the title after a 2-0 win at Wolves on Friday.

The Magpies dropped points with a 1-1 draw with Leeds but Stephens, who is out of contract in the summer, insisted Brighton must focus on promotion before clinching the title.

"I'd like to get promoted first, the aim of this season from the outset was to gain promotion and that still remains our number-one target," said Stephens, who joined the Seagulls from Charlton in 2014.

"This league is so unpredictable it can certainly bite you. We look at the next game, we have put ourselves in a really good position and we want to capitalise on where we are.

"Monday is the next opportunity to do so."

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