Dale Stephens has targeted a return to the Albion starting line-up after another sub appearance against the club he grew up supporting.

The midfielder came off the bench for the fifth match running in the 1-0 setback at Bolton.

He replaced groin injury victim Bruno for the last 25 minutes, his longest run-out since ten months out with ankle ligament and nerve damage.

Stephens told The Argus: "I’m taking it still week by week. I was injured for a long time so I’ve got to take it slowly but I’m gradually building up first team minutes and hopefully I’ll be able to start games soon."

Stephens’ younger brother Macauley and the rest of his clan were disappointed by Albion’s defeat, despite supporting their opponents.

Stephens said: "He is a mad Bolton fan but I think he wanted us to win, like the rest of my family."

Albion have an immediate chance to respond to their first defeat in five matches against promotion-chasing Derby County at the Amex tomorrow night.

"Confidence is still high inside the group to go into Tuesday’s game and get something out of that one," Stephens said.

Meanwhile, the former Charlton player says he was oblivious to the controversy surrounding his transfer 13 months ago, which led last week to FA bans and fines for two agents, a ban for a third party solicitor and a fine for Albion.

"It was the first I’d ever heard of it," Stephens revealed. "I was surprised but it’s none of my business. I’m a Brighton player and I just want to concentrate on my football."