Stevenage manager says Saturday’s League 1 clash is a ‘do or die’ game for his club

Graham Westley says Stevenage are ‘absolutely fighting for our lives’ ahead of their relegation scrap at home to Colchester United on Saturday.

Defeat to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday leaves Boro bottom of the table and four points from safety with just five matches remaining of the League 1 season.

Saturday’s defeat means Stevenage turn into the final straight having not won a match in the league in their last seven matches – the worst record of any side in the division.

Westley says this weekend’s match is a ‘must-win’ game, adding that his team is now in a ‘do or die’ situation.

He has called for more courage from his players, and says that the XI he puts out this weekend will be made up of the players he believes will be able to offer all of the attributes that he is seeking.

“We have got a big game with a team [Colchester] six places above us, and with a win we go one point behind them,” Westley said.

“We have to say [it] is a must-win game, but if we do win next weekend everything is back on from our point of view.

“People said it’s a must-win game [against Shrewsbury]. I said not but I think [Colchester] is a must-win game.

“It’s an opportunity to close the gap on a team six places ahead and put us back in the scrap.

“The players that wear the 11 shirts are the players I believe will have the work ethic and the courage to deal with the situation.

“You are always picking a team to win but those really are the characteristics of the players that will be going out there next weekend.

“Players who have got the hunger and fight to make sure we come out on top.”

Westley says Stevenage will realistically require ‘eight or nine points’ from their five remaining matches if they are to survive the drop, and Boro’s boss talks about play-off matches of old when trying to find matches that are comparative in terms of significance.

“It is serious stuff now. We are absolutely fighting for our life,” Westley said.

“It’s like playing play-off semi-finals and play-off finals.

“We have got some big matches in front of us, but it’s well within us to do the job.

“I’ve got no doubt about that, but we really have to be going in at our best.

“In the end it will probably be that we have got to win eight or nine points from here on in.

“We might have to do better than that but we have got to win three of five games as a minimum.

“There are three must-wins and a couple we can afford to spill in. So anyone who thinks we have gone all season and only won 10 or 11 games... we have also won some big games in the cup.

“The team has produced the goods and in recent games we have been a lot better.

“We will be able to deal with the situation.

“We’ve got five games to preserve our status, five games to avoid that drop. It really is do or die.”