Match Preview: Stevenage v Newport County
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage welcome Newport County to the Lamex Stadium on Saturday; the team a 2-0 defeat to earlier in the season was to be a turning point in Boro’s season.
Prior to the loss in south Wales, Boro had claimed 25 points from a possible 57 from 19 league games, the 14 matches after have seen Graham Westley’s men snap up 27 points from an available 42 and rise to the edge of the play-off places.
The Boro boss said: “We have tried to work really hard at building the endurance aspect of our game in the last couple of months.
“The boys have worked tremendously, since probably the game up at Newport where I made the point to them that I wasn’t happy with the ground coverage and that that was going to be a big feature of us, and it’s good that now we’re scoring those late goals and winning games in the last 15 minutes.”
Since the game at Rodney Parade, Newport have seen manager Justin Edinburgh depart for Gillingham and replaced by his number two Jimmy Dack, an ex-Stevenage coach who has previously worked with Westley.
Of his former colleague’s side, Westley said: “They have lost three in six, but they have won two very big away games in those six, they won at Wycombe and they won at Burton, and we all know that whatever is going on in that football club to go and get two wins at Wycombe and Burton is not proving to be easy this season.
“We are mindful of what they have got to offer, we know that they have lost three in six, but we know that the teams that have beaten them will have had to have done a lot of good work to get those results and that’s where our focus lies.”
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Stevenage go in to the Newport match having suffered at least three more injuries in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Plymouth with Chris Whelpdale, David Martin and Roarie Deacon all being forced off.
“[It’s] quite an empty training ground this morning (Thursday) and quite a busy treatment room,” said Westley.
“It’s tough this time of year, lads have played a lot of games over the season and carry things and are taking knocks in competitive games
“Thursday after Tuesday is normally a bit like this, Friday you start to see who is going to be available for the weekend.”
“All the players that went off on Tuesday were injuries and there were lads who finished the game who probably should have come off so it was a tough night, a tough game and we certainly paid a price.”
However, since then Stevenage has extended the loan deals of QPR winger Bruno Andrade, who hit the only goal against the Pilgrims, and Cardiff City striker Danny Johnson.
“I spoke to Bruno after the game, I spoke to Danny after the game, both made a really good impact on Tuesday so in that moment you’re ready to extend their stay here and in that moment they were ready to extend,” added Westley.
“Both clubs were happy to move with me, Chris Ramsey [QPR boss] and Russell [Slade, Cardiff manager] were terrific on Wednesday in sorting things out and the loans have carried on.”