Difficult Easter ahead for Stevenage

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

Stevenage boss Graham Westley expects tough Sky Bet League 2 games this Bank Holiday Easter weekend as his side face the division’s bottom two.

First up are second bottom Tranmere Rovers at the Lamex Stadium on Friday with a trip to Cheltenham Town on Easter Monday.

Westley said: “You have to go and earn every point that is there to be earned, both games I expect to be very, very difficult affairs and we will have to work extraordinarily hard to win both.”

One player likely to be missing for the two clashes is Boro’s former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dean Parrett who left the field injured on Monday during the 1-1 draw at leaders Burton Albion.

Westley said: “He [Parrett] was forced off and if you get forced off there’s a reason so we are seeing how that settles down.

“When you’re forced off it’s rare that a knock can be shaken off within three or four days, it can sometimes happen with seven to 10, often it takes three or four weeks.

“We’ll see how it settles down before we work out exactly how long it takes to get him back out there.”

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Stevenage have fielded the same settled back five in their last five games and of having a settled side Westley added: “Any team that manages to keep some consistency in its selection from one through 11 has an advantage because when you know the players around you, you know their strengths, you know their weaknesses, you know how to support them properly, you get used to each other’s voices, you know where each other’s position’s going to be, you know the type of play that each other demand or require, you get a bit of a rhythm going.

“We haven’t really got any rhythm going this season because it’s been one thing after the next in terms of selection being affected, at this time of the year however it’s very important to be adaptable.”

Keeping the squad happy and on its toes is key, and as Westley knows, any one of those currently out of the side could be required at any time to be a hero in the closing seven games of the season before the play-off places are decided.

“At this time of the year when you’re playing a lot of games in quick succession, when a lot of lads are maybe nursing knocks that are going to need operations in the summer, quite often it’s about getting players through games,” he said.

“It’s about realising that you can’t keep a settled side out there, you have got to be able to move from Monday to Friday and Friday to Monday to make changes as a team and allow those changes to be positives.

“We’ve been keeping the squad on red alert for the moment when any one of them may be needed.

“I know from past experience that a player who has played little or no part so far could suddenly become a massive player as Joel Byrom did in our previous play-off campaign.

“Joel Byrom came into the semi-final and scored, was brilliant in the second leg and played his part in the final too, he’d barely played all season, but then became a massive player so it’s important that the squad are kept on their toes and ready for action as any one of them could be a play-off final hero.”