Boro have got brain as well as brawn

Graham Westley says his players have got the right mix as he looks for them to bounce back at Carlisle

STEVENAGE manager Graham Westley say he isn’t bothered if opposing managers regard his team as needing to be overly physical in order to win matches – insisting those that are of that opinion perhaps need do a bit more homework on his team.

There has been no shortage of managers and players drawing attention to Boro’s physical attributes in recent seasons, with many suggesting Stevenage are a team who only know how to win by bullying sides into submission. Even Carlisle manager, Greg Abbott, has said in the lead up to Saturday’s clash with Boro that his players need to turn into a ‘team of brutes’ if they are going to earn all three points at Brunton Park. However the Boro boss says his players possess a lot more quality than perhaps many give them credit for.

“People know when they play Stevenage that we are supremely fit,” said Westley.

“We’ve had fitness tests back this week which confirm that, and we are poles apart from other clubs in terms of fitness levels and that’s a great thing to know.

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“It’s good to know you’ve got more endurance, it’s good to know you’ve got bigger lung capacities, it’s good to know your fitness levels are at a high level. So we’re confident in our physicality and if you watch us week in, week out, we use that to dominate the ball and to attack sides.

“I don’t think that everyone gets that, but it doesn’t bother me that they don’t. The fact they notice how able our players are in terms of fitness and being strong in a physical encounter tells you something. Anyone who has done their homework will know we’re a very good side in a physical sense, but at the same time anyone who is doing their homework should realise there’s a lot more to us than that. It doesn’t bother me if people underestimate us.”

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Westley is looking for his team to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Notts County when they make the 572-mile round trip to Cumbria.

The Blues currently find themselves in a bad run of form having lost five of their last six matches in all competitions, but Westley isn’t taking anything for granted and insists it’s up to him and his players to make sure they get their own house in order prior to kick-off on Saturday.

He said: “They’ve been on a tough run of late and he (Greg Abbott) is well regarded but under pressure as I understand it. But I hope he sees it through because he’s always been a decent fella whenever I’ve spoken to him.

“They went into the season with high hopes. They had a mid-table finish last year and were optimistic about their chances of pushing on and being seen as a play-off side this season so the club’s expectations is set around that level and anything less than that isn’t going to feel good for them.

“They are where they are, but you can’t underestimate any team in any league – certainly not any professional league. We know the dangers individual sides pose, but our focus this week has been on ourselves. We’ve got a lot of strengths in our squad and physically we’re in fantastic shape. We got the players’ test results back this week and looking at the physical advantage they’ve got when we benchmark against other clubs is fantastic. So we know we go into games with a lot of legwork we can do over other sides because of their physical condition. And when we’re on it and we get our intensity up we’re very difficult to handle.”

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