Cambridge United v Stevenage preview

Darren Sarll speaks to The Comet at the training ground press conference.

Darren Sarll speaks to The Comet at the training ground press conference. - Credit: Archant

Ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two trip to Cambridge United, Stevenage boss Darren Sarll gave his squad a glimpse of his nice side.

Following the three gruelling games in seven days that saw a derby win at Luton Town, a defeat away to Blackpool and a terrific 3-0 home success over Portsmouth, Sarll allowed his squad two days off.

“That seven days was brutal,” said Sarll whose side sit fourth in the table just four points away from Pompey in the third automatic promotion spot.

“When you play Portsmouth you know you are going to have to run because they are a good footballing side and they keep the ball well,” he added.

“I thought their [his players’] efforts Saturday were fantastic so I gave them Sunday-Monday off, that’s the nicest I’ll ever be.”

With his side now in the top four, Sarll knows opponents will be gunning for them more now than ever and his troops have to be ready for the test.

“We came back into work [Tuesday] we have been working every day since as we know now at the moment we are now one of those teams we used to look [up] at.

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“You think ‘they are up there so we’ll have to work that little bit harder on our analysis and preparation’ teams are going to start doing that to Stevenage, quite rightly so, I think we have earned that.

“When teams double their efforts it’s in the back of my mind I have to double my efforts and the players have to double their efforts because we are going to have to work harder against teams really motivated to beat Stevenage.

“They have worked hard again this week we gave them a couple of days away from each other then it was firmly back into work and let’s go again because you don’t underestimate this Cambridge side.”

Shaun Derry’s U’s beat Stevenage 2-1 on Boxing Day at the Lamex Stadium and Sarll spoke highly of his opposite number.

“They are very well coached, Shaun and Joe [Dunne] are very good coaches, you can see that from the way they play.

“They have had a tough time with injuries, I feel for them there there’s empathy from one manager to the next in terms of that, which has maybe hampered what terrific momentum they had just prior to Christmas that swung through Christmas, they beat us on Boxing Day, so they are a good side.

“You can never right off Cambridge, you can never right off any derby that is presented in front of you.

“It’s a good occasion, like I said before the Luton game, I like derbies, and I love the hostility that locals bring to each other.

“I enjoy it when it’s on an edge and where our players are at the minute being on the edge the atmosphere will certainly heighten our motivation.”