BURNLEY have not yet seen the best of Dale Stephens, according to manager Sean Dyche.

But the Clarets boss feels his summer signing has plenty to offer.

Dyche admitted that he had not been able to do as much groundwork with the 31-year-old as he would normally prefer with new arrivals before throwing them into the side.

But he is encouraged by the way the midfielder has adapted and, ahead of Stephens' return to former club Brighton tonight (kick-off 5.30pm), he feels there is more to come.

"You're catching up, which is hard, you're catching up on true fitness, the minutes you've missed - he's done well actually, we threw him in out of the blue when he got here, he'd hardly trained or played for a week, so we can't expect miracles," said Dyche.

With injuries mounting up, Stephens made his full debut just two days after completing his move from the Amex on a two-year deal, starting in the home game with Southampton in the absence of Johann Berg Gudmundsson, with Josh Brownhill playing on the right.

He was cup tied for the midweek League Cup clash with Manchester City but returned to the starting line-up for the next Premier League game, away to Newcastle.

A fit-again Gudmundsson replaced him in the line-up at West Brom and at home to Spurs last month, but a setback for the Iceland international saw Stephens restored to the line-up for last weekend's defeat to Chelsea at Turf Moor.

"I think he'll learn more about us and develop into the side like many others have," said Dyche.

"Ideally, if you look down my history, I've often given players a period of adjustment, rather than put them straight in, you've seen that many times.

"I think that would have been helpful, but we are stretched and he's had to go in and get on with it, to do a shift for us."

The Burnley boss added: "He's a player who knows the division, knows the challenges, knows himself as well, where his true fitness is and he'll get sharper and fitter."