Match preview: Stevenage v Carlisle United
- Credit: Archant
Despite weekend opponents Carlisle United having secured their League Two status for next season following a 2-0 win over Boro’s play-off rivals Plymouth Argyle last Saturday, Graham Westley unsurprisingly does not expect a free ride as Stevenage close in on their own season ambitions.
Boro go into the game requiring all three points to guarantee a play-off place.
Anything less and Westley’s men will potentially need a result within a super-charged derby atmosphere at another side hovering around the play-offs, Luton Town, a week on Saturday.
Therefore, a victory over the Cumbrians would save rising blood pressure on the final day of the campaign. Not that Westley feels the win will come easy this week, just as it proved at Accrington Stanley, another mid-table side, barely seven days ago.
Westley said: “This is professional football. Professionals go to work to do their job. Their job is to entertain the fans and to pay their mortgages.
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“Every opponent will be getting more money if they beat you than if they dont. You never get a side turning up not wanting to win and every professional manager will find every motivation possible to get his team ready on the day. That’s the nature of the beast.
“I never prepare for a match thinking they may not play their best. We prepare for the best they can offer. Less than their best is a bonus but you also have to produce the goods yourself in order to go and win the points.
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“I said it after the game at Accrington. It was a tough environment, with a tough pitch and we knew we had been in a game. Management will produce hard-working teams that will give you nothing and that goes for this week as well.”
Just as which Carlisle side will turn up ready for battle at the Lamex Stadium this weekend remains a mystery, Westley is being just as guarded about his team selections.
He continued: “One of the beauties of when there are some players sitting on the sidelines that could play and some they can’t play, nobody really knows who you’re going to play.
“That makes it very difficult for people to prepare for who you’re going to play. From our point of view, it is good one or two are getting nearer to full fitness and the training ground is becoming a fuller place.
“I wouldn’t want to rule anyway out at this stage. One person that comes to mind is Calvin (Zola).
“He has tended to be absent throughout the year and his knocks have not really disappeared but I wouldn’t be surprised if at some stage again, he doesn’t do what he did against Southend, which is come on and affect a game in a massive way. He still has the potential to have a massive moment in the final games so that is why we are getting everyone ready to play because everyone has that in them.”