Stephens looks ahead to Boro cup clash

Dale Stephens in action against Crystal Palace last night. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Dale Stephens in action against Crystal Palace last night. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Dale Stephens will look to erase bad memories of the Riverside Stadium when Brighton travel to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round later this month.

Stephens was controversially sent off by Mike Dean when Albion needed to win their promotion-decider at Boro in May, 2016, but the game finished 1-1 after the Seagulls played the final half-an-hour with ten men.

There were wild scenes of jubiliation as Boro fans celebrated promotion on the pitch at the final whistle but Middlesbrough were relegated after just one campaign in the Premier League.

They are now eighth in the Championship, while Brighton sit 12th in the top flight with 16 matches to play after promotion last season.

Stephens scored the opening goal in Albion's 2-1 win over arch rivals Crystal Palace in the third round last night. Looking forward to the tie at the Riverside Stadium, he said: "I've obviously got some bad memories of that place but it will be a chance to progress in the competition.

"It will be a tough game but we are going to go up there and try and win.

"We've got more or less a fully fit squad and the lads who have not been playing are chomping at the bit.

"They've trained well all year. It's good for them to pick up another game and hopefully we can go through to the next round."

On the victory against Palace, Stephens said: "It was a decent performance and I thought we deserved to go through.

"I think we've played well (this season) and we've probably deserved more points than our tally."