Fans are about to find out how Albion cope without Dale Stephens.

The 30-year-old midfielder will miss Albion’s trip to rivals Crystal Palace on Monday night after he picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 2-2 draw to Wolves.

He so nearly got through the game but fouled Adam Traore in stoppage time.

Stephens had been walking a disciplinary tightrope anyway.

Albion would have needed him to get through another two games before the cut off point to avoid a ban.

But knowing that, and having told The Argus he had to be sensible in those games, the tackle he made was probably not his greatest decision.

So just how will Albion get on without him?

History would suggest not too badly.

Stephens did not play a part in ten of Albion’s games last season in all competitions.

In the ten he missed Albion won four, drew two and lost four, of which two of those were against champions Manchester City.

A reshuffle was forced when he picked up a ‘soft’ red card against Cardiff last November in a 2-1 defeat in Wales.

Seagulls drew the next game against Leicester at the Amex, won 2-1 away at Huddersfield and then beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Falmer.

The reality this season, though, under new head coach Graham Potter is Stephens has been a key man in the midfield set-up.

Stephens has started all 16 of Seagulls’ Premier League games this season and he has made quite an impact.

He has made the seventh most passes in the Premier League with 1,038.

The Bolton-born grafter has also made the sixth most accurate short passes this season with 845.

But he has shown he can pick a pass too when many fans last season felt he too readily went sideways or backwards.

It was his superb 40-yard ball over the top to pick out Neal Maupay which led to the equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Wolves.

Maupay still had a lot to do once he got it down but then again so did Anthony Knockaert last season when it was Stephens’ diagonal pass out to the right flank that saw the winger cut in before scoring a memorable winner.

What will soften the blow for the Seagulls is the form of their other midfielders.

Australian Aaron Mooy is starting to show the high levels of consistency that many have expected.

He was named man of the match by sponsors in the draw against Wolves and also in the 2-1 win over Arsenal.

Davy Propper is showing consistent form, albeit alongside Stephens, while he finally delivered the goal his displays, and forays forward, had been promising.

The Dutchman opened his account for the season on Sunday when he headed home Leandro Trossard’s perfectly weighted cross.

Of course, Propper was also responsible for the blind pass which Jonny pounced on to allow Diego Jota to make it 2-2 right on the stroke of half-time.

Albion also have Steven Alzate at their disposal.

He has been playing in a variety of roles so far this season, including filling in at right-back most recently, but his more natural role is in the centre of the midfield.

Given his composure on the ball he could well be an option to play in the middle of the park.

In terms of discipline, skipper Lewis Dunk picked up another yellow card in the Wolves game and it means that the centre-half has to get to March 30 without picking up another four to avoid a two-match suspension.