IT will be a family affair for Dale Stephens today as the midfielder takes to the pitch against his boyhood club.

Bolton-born former Bury trainee Stephens returns to the North West with Brighton today looking to topple the side he used to support as a kid.

And the 26-year-old hopes to have the backing of some locals too, with demand for tickets in the Stephens clan high.

“I need about 14 of them,” he said. “My old man and my family are all Bolton fans. My brother is a die-hard.

“He goes to all the home games and away sometimes as well.

“I’m hoping my family will be supporting me but I think my little brother will be supporting Bolton!”

Stephens grew up following the Whites before embarking on a professional career that has also seen him play for Oldham and Charlton.

“They had top international players back then,” he said. “I wasn’t really a die-hard and only went to the Reebok, never to Burnden Park. But I’d always watch their games on TV.

“Things are a little bit different these days but I’m sure they have got the right ambition to get back.”