Match preview: Shrewsbury Town vs Stevenage

Tom Conlon celebrates with Darius Charles in the first meeting between Stevenage and Shrewsbury, whi

Tom Conlon celebrates with Darius Charles in the first meeting between Stevenage and Shrewsbury, which Boro won. - Credit: Archant

Graham Westley believes Stevenage face out of the toughest challenges League Two throws up on Saturday: an away trip to Shrewsbury Town.

Boro haven’t picked up a point in their last three trips to Greenhous Meadow, dating back to the 2010/11 season. They beat the Shrews 1-0 at the Lamex Stadium thanks to a Darius Charles deflected goal.

The task on Saturday, according to Westley, is similar to the one they faced ahead of their win over York City last week.

“We’ll have to think hard to get a result; Saturday is as tough as it gets in the league,” he said. “But we beat them at home 1-0 and we’re better now than we were then.

“We don’t underestimate any side on their home patch. York was a real tough fixture; they, like Shrewsbury, were ruthless out of possession and we had to stand up to that test, be man enough deal with it, not suffer intimidation, dominate the challenge and use our qualities to win the football match, which we did.

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“York was a good dress rehearsal for Shrewsbury. This weekend I think we’ll be better. I think we will go there with a strong determination to come home with three points.”

One thing Westley has focused on in the build-up is the disciplinary record at Greenhous Meadow, both for and against Micky Mellon’s side. It’s lead to Westley asking for a “strong” referee, which he believes the FA have delivered in Tony Harrington.

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“They’ve had six red cards against opponents at their home ground. Wow. What happens to officials when they go into their stadium? I look at it and think we’re playing a side that has 12 per cent more fouls, 11 per cent more yellows, double the red cards than we’ve had,” he said.

“Yes they’re keeping clean sheets and keeping the ball out of their net but if you look at their defending, it says you need a strong official. The facts of the fouls they give and yellows they take are there to see, so you know they’re ruthless in their defending, which is fine, but we expect the official to be strong enough to handle it.

“We’re lucky that we have a guy who has been operating in the Championship. When you go to a place like Shrewsbury, with a home record like theirs, the one thing you want is an official who will not be put under pressure by the crowd or club officials.

“Six red cards against opponents in their home ground yet they foul a lot and take a lot of yellows. Their ruthlessness needs to be managed and I’m sure, with the referee that we’ve got in charge, that that will happen.”

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