Boro back in pre-season training
Skipper Mark Roberts hopeful of successful campaign
STEVENAGE players returned to pre-season training this week with captain Mark Roberts hopeful of yet another successful season for the club.
It is just five weeks since Boro beat Torquay United 1-0 in the npower League 2 play-off final to secure the club’s second successive promotion for Graham Westley’s men but the players are already back at the club’s Shephalbury Academy as they work towards full fitness ahead of the first league game of the season at home to Exeter City on August 6.
Before then Stevenage will play eight friendlies, starting at Hitchin Town next Wednesday (July 13), and Roberts says the Boro squad is a confident one and they will do their utmost to continue their success this coming campaign.
“It was good to see everyone again, to see the old faces,” Roberts told The Comet, “and we also saw the new faces (Guy Madjo, Alan Julian and Phil Edwards) and we welcomed them to the club.
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“We had a meeting (on Tuesday), and we had a discussion about last season, about what we had achieved, and we spoke about our aims for the new season and what we want to do.
“We’re a confident bunch of lads, we’re a confident squad and management team, and we always aim to do the best. We’ve shown the last couple of seasons that anything is possible so we’ll have our target at the start of the season and I’m sure everyone will step up.”
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Boro have made three signings so far this summer with striker Guy Madjo, goalkeeper Alan Julian and defender Phil Edwards joining the club, the latter whom Roberts knows well from his time at Accrington Stanley. Edwards was also part of the Stanley side which lost out to Boro in last season’s League 2 semi-finals and Roberts says his team-mates have been giving the defender a light-hearted ribbing over that particular result while adding that Julian is a good replacement for departed goalkeeper Ashley Bayes.
“There have been a few jibes aimed at Phil regarding the play-offs, but he’s taken it well and he’s already settling in,” Roberts said.
“He’s an excellent player who can play in a number of positions and he’s a good signing. I and Joel (Byrom) know him from our time at Accy and although he was young when we were there I recognised that he was a magnificent player.
“Alan (at the club for a second spell) is familiar with certain people at the club when he was here before, and Ronnie (Henry) is one of those.
“(Ashley) Bayes was brilliant at the footie club; he was a big, big character and quite extrovert but it is now up to other players to take on that mantle. No one player is bigger than the club and we have to move on, and Alan has come back and will be able to compete with Chris (Day) and we’ll be stronger for it.”
n Former QPR and Fulham player Rodney Marsh will be the guest speaker at Stevenage’s next Sportsman’s Dinner on Monday, September 12. For more details visit www.thecomet24.co.uk or phone Clive Abrey on (01438) 218073.