Competition for places gives Freeman optimism

Luke Freeman in action for Stevenage

Luke Freeman in action for Stevenage - Credit: Archant

Boro wide-man Luke Freeman feels an increase in competition for places can benefit the side as they continue their fight for League One survival.

The recent arrivals of Bira Dembele, Curtis Obeng and John Mousinho, coupled with a return to form following a six-month injury lay-off for Darius Charles, have boosted the options available to Graham Westley.

“We’ve got a lot of competition,” said Freeman.

“A lot of lads can play more than one position so it’s good, if we do need people to play certain positions for a specific game we can, for instance Jimmy [Smith] playing off the striker.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do [on Saturday] I imagine it’ll probably change but we’ve got a lot of competition at the moment.”

Freeman cited Charles as a prime example of the team’s versatility; the 26-year-old has featured at left-back, centre-half and his favoured position, centre-forward, this campaign.

“The thing with Darius is that he plays left back too good to be honest with you.

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“I think he prefers to play as a centre forward but you can’t not play him sometimes, the way he plays.

“I’ve never seen anyone, in the two years I’ve been in this league, go around him or get the beating off him so unfortunately for him, he wants to play as a striker but he plays full-back too well,” said the 22-year-old.

Stevenage will make the trip to fellow relegation strugglers Shrewsbury on Saturday afternoon, hoping to lift themselves out of the drop-zone.

The Shrews currently sit bottom of the Sky Bet League One table, level on points with Boro who are one place above, and Freeman admits the fixture is a must win for his side.

“Saturday’s a massive game, it’s a must win really,” said the former Arsenal man.

“At the end of the day we’ll just prepare and recover well, like we already have, and all the lads are really looking forward to it.”

The club’s recent upturn in form has provided a lifeline that at one stage did not seem to be forthcoming, something Freeman revealed has been reflected in the spirit of the side.

“The mood has definitely lifted,” he said.

“The performances have been a lot better the last few weeks. Over the last eight to ten games I know we’ve had a couple of losses but we’ve not really lost a lot and that’s something that’s changed.

“At the start of the season we’d lose those games instead of maybe getting a point.”