MK Dons within Stevenage’s sights

Rather than look over their shoulder, Boro are keen to keep teams above them in their sights

Stevenage manager Gary Smith says he has play-off rivals MK Dons in his sights as Boro prepare to take on fellow promotion hopefuls Carlisle United this weekend.

After a two-week enforced break due to the cold snap Stevenage are back in action at home this Saturday against seventh-place United, if the game passes a pitch inspection on Friday morning.

Like Boro, Carlisle are currently on 45 points in League 1 after beating Chesterfield last weekend but trail Stevenage on goal difference.

Although Stevenage have to look over their shoulder at Carlisle, AFC Bournemouth (43 points) and Brentford (40) among others, Smith says the club’s focus has to be on closing down the gap between themselves and the Dons which currently stands at four points although Boro do have a game in hand.

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“Carlisle won at home on Saturday and they came level with us on points, and there is a group of teams such as MK, ourselves, Bournemouth and a few others who are fighting for the third-fourth play-off spots,” said Smith.

“There are a lot of points to play for and our focus is to now put MK under some pressure.”

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It has been the best part of a fortnight since Boro were involved in league action.

The game against Notts County last Saturday and the home match against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday evening were both called off due to frozen pitches, but Smith said his players have been training hard and have come in for sessions on the days when they were supposed to be in competitive action.

The club has used the 3G pitch at the Valley Sports Academy on Broadhall Way as well as taking on further training in London and Smith, alongside assistant Mark Newson, took the opportunity of a free Saturday to scout Wycombe Wanderers and Tranmere Rovers who met at Adams Park last Saturday.

“We’ve had to move around a tad. I don’t think it’s easy for anyone when conditions plummet and snow falls but we have made good use of the all weather pitch across the road and the David Beckham Academy,” said Smith.

“The players have been terrific; there has been no moaning or groaning. They get on with it.

“We’ve prepared for the games as you have to have it in the back of your mind that it will be on but come the crunch time the rug has been pulled from beneath us. But preparations have not gone awry at all.

“Last Saturday we came in. The game had been called off on Friday but we trained on Saturday.

“[On Tuesday] we got the group together and did an afternoon session. We have tried to keep a schedule in terms of overall preparation for games.”

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