Stevenage boss Dino Maamria issues rallying cry ahead of big derby clash with Cambridge at the Lamex

PUBLISHED: 11:56 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:56 30 August 2018

Stevenage beat Swansea City U21s 5-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy. CREDIT: Martyn Haworth MH Sports Photo

Stevenage beat Swansea City U21s 5-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy. CREDIT: Martyn Haworth MH Sports Photo

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Stevenage boss Dino Maamria has issued a rally cry ahead of the big derby at the Lamex against Cambridge United on Saturday.

Stevenage hat-trick hero Kurtis Guthrie slots home his penalty. CREDIT: MARTYN HAWORTHStevenage hat-trick hero Kurtis Guthrie slots home his penalty. CREDIT: MARTYN HAWORTH

With Boro making an impressive start to their League Two campaign, hopes are high the Broadhall Way outfit will mount a promotion push.

One of manager Maamria’s early matches last season was a disappointing 2-0 reverse in North Herts against the visitors from the Abbey Stadium as the Tunisian-born 46-year-old assessed his squad in the opening few weeks of his reign.

The former Boro player, who is earning plaudits as a boss with his side’s intense pressing play, was not happy with the performance that day, prompting him to drastically reshape his squad by bringing in 15 new players over the summer.

Stevenage's Ben Kennedy nets the first of his brace from the penalty spot. CREDIT: MARTYN HAWORTHStevenage's Ben Kennedy nets the first of his brace from the penalty spot. CREDIT: MARTYN HAWORTH

The bold move by the former Nuneaton Town leader is paying off, as witnessed by his side’s 5-0 rout of Swansea City U21s on Tuesday in the Checkatrade Trophy, including a hat-trick by summer singing Kurtis Guthrie and a brace from the talented Ben Kennedy.

A bullish Maamria told CometSport: “Saturday will be a derby game. I know how much it means to the fans. And to me.

“We’ve got to make sure we cover every blade of grass. We’ve got to play with passion and courage. We want to make our ground a fortress.

Hat-trick hero Kurtis Guthrie during Stevenage's 5-0 rout of Swanseas City U21. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTHHat-trick hero Kurtis Guthrie during Stevenage's 5-0 rout of Swanseas City U21. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTH

“We want a good crowd. If I have to go to Stevenage town centre and shout to people to come along I will.

“Hopefully we’ll see a good crowd. I want the town of Stevenage to come together and get behind the team. I think we can push on together and do good things.”

The 5-0 demolition of the Swans youngsters was in contrast to the 6-2 home defeat by Oxford United to kick-off last season’s Checkatrade tournament for Boro.

Terence Vancooten and Emmanuel Sonupe after Stevenage beat Swansea City U21s 5-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy. CREDIT: Martyn Haworth MH Sports PhotoTerence Vancooten and Emmanuel Sonupe after Stevenage beat Swansea City U21s 5-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy. CREDIT: Martyn Haworth MH Sports Photo

Maamria is determined to launch a cup run – and makes no bones about it.

He added: “I want to go all the way to Wembley. Every game matters. Winning is a habit. You can’t just turn it on and off.

“You should go into every game wanting to win it. It doesn’t matter who the opponents are. “I love the Checkatrade Trophy. We’ve been to Wembley before and we know what it means for the club, for us for the town. It’s good to start with a win. Not just a win but a 5-0 win. It’s a good start.”

Ben Kennedy about to slot home his penalty during Stevenage's 5-0 rout of Swanseas City U21. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTHBen Kennedy about to slot home his penalty during Stevenage's 5-0 rout of Swanseas City U21. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTH

The hard-to-please Maamria who expects maximum effort at all times from his players also praised young defensive starlet Terence Vancooten for his display against the South Wales side.

Vancooten is a bright prospect who needs more experience after a breakthrough season last year following signing for the club permanently from Championship side Reading.

Tough taskmaster Maamria added: “I thought Terence played very well against Swansea at the level I expect of him. He did impress but he needs to keep doing it consistently. If he does he will give me a selection headache. Which is a good thing to have.

Stevenage beat Swansea City U21s 5-0 at the Lamex. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTHStevenage beat Swansea City U21s 5-0 at the Lamex. CREDIT MARTYN HAWORTH

“I thought James Ferry also did well as did young Artur Iontton which can only help strengthen my squad in the long term.”

Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29 for extensive coverage of Saturday’s big derby match against Cambridge.

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