Dale Stephens has welcomed increased competition for places in Albion’s midfield.

Even though it has probably cost him his starting spot in the last two matches.

The Seagulls midfielder has begun the last two matches on the bench after returning from a hamstring injury.

Stephens started 36 league games two seasons ago, missing just two after an injury suffered in the home win over Arsenal.

He was named on the bench twice last season, one of them immediately after a three-match ban which saw him miss successive wins.

Stephens has been praised by boss Graham Potter this season.

Equally, he was on the bench twice around the turn of the year and again in the last two fixtures.

He told The Argus: “It has happened to me a few times this year.

“It shows the level of player we have got within the team.

“It happens in football. Whether I have played a lot for this football club or not, we want to attract top players.

“Sometimes that means players miss out on playing football.

“We want good, healthy competition within the squad and that is what we have got.”

Aaron Mooy has added to midfield competition this season, starting 20 of the last 23 league games for which he has been available.

Yves Bissouma’s recent form has made him very hard to leave out.

Potter’s biggest decision ahead of Saturday’s game against Arsenal could be whether to start Alexis Mac Allister, who was bright as a late sub in the 0-0 draw at Wolves.