JACK Stephens believes Saints can achieve another top-ten finish in the Premier League.

The centre-half’s first Premier League goal ensured a vital point against Brighton on Wednesday, ahead of this afternoon’s six-pointer against bottom-of-the-table West Bromwich Albion.

A heavy defeat at the Hawthorns could send Saints to the foot of the Premier League.

But Stephens, who celebrated by his 24th birthday by scoring the winner in last week's FA Cup tie against Watford, is looking up.

“We know we haven’t been good enough this year so far but there’s still a lot of games to go and a lot of points to play for,” he said.

“There’s no reason why we can’t get up to mid-table at least.

“There’s only six points separating 11 or 12 teams.”

It is little more than a year since Stephens’ Premier League debut, but he is expected to make his 31st appearance this afternoon.

“The last 12 months it’s sort of taken off for me and I’m grateful for the staff and the players who have helped me along the way,” he continued.

“It’s just important I keep trying to improve and work on my game. I need to keep moving forward because there’s so much competition in the squad. The Premier League is such a difficult league so you can’t stand still.”

After a three-month spell out of the team, a recent positive for Saints of late has been Stephens’ improving partnership with Wes Hoedt.

“I think we’ve got a lot of strength in that department and obviously Maya’s been fantastic.

"We had a great relationship towards the end of last season. Maya and Wes have played together a lot and, more recently, I’ve been playing with Wes.

“I think it’s important we keep learning each other’s game and keep working together. Hopefully we can all form a partnership between each other. Whoever gets the shirt has to perform.”

Stephens added: “Playing so many games last year I got onto a bit of a roll and I thought I started the season really well.

"So it was disappointing to come out the team and I think I did take a couple of steps back.

“It’s taken me a few games to get back to how I was playing but I feel I’m getting stronger and better each game. Hopefully I can get a bit of a run going.”