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Brighton News: Hughton hails Stephens influence; Ahannach joins Sparta Rotterdam

Brighton boss Chris Hughton is delighted with the influence of Dale Stephens this season.

Burnley's Jack Cork is the only other midfielder to have played every minute of every match. Stephens has 15 games left to complete an ever-present season.

"It would be very difficult," Hughton said. “Where I am delighted is that when I first came to the club he had this injury (ankle) which kept him out which was a very frustrating injury but since that he's generally been injury free.

“He is very fit, he's a good mover and we hope he is fit for all the games. He's a key player for us."

Meanwhile, Albion have confirmed the return to Holland of under-23s winger Soufyan Ahannach on loan to Eredivisie strugglers Sparta Rotterdam for the rest of the season.

Hughton said: "Soufyan was brought in initially as a member of the development squad and to be pushing to break through into the first-team squad, but he has found those opportunities limited during the first half of the season.

"This loan move offers him the chance to go and play regular first team football with Sparta Rotterdam in the top division in the Dutch League. It is a good move for all parties, but most importantly Soufyan, and this will help his ongoing development."

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Paul Vegas

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