Players are learning from each other all the time - Smith

Boro boss pleased with how squad is developing

Stevenage boss Gary Smith says his players have already learnt so much about each other this season, despite being thrown together during the summer.

Boro are currently second in the League One table, a point behind leaders Tranmere Rovers, and one of the things that has pleased Smith the most is that his players have shown both resilience when they’ve fallen behind, and the ability to see out games when they’ve been ahead.

Boro bounced back from their solitary defeat of the season away at Colchester a fortnight ago with back-to-back wins over MK Dons and Portsmouth on Tuesday night, where they had to ride out a strong wave of pressure from Pompey after half-time before going on to win the game.

“What the group are finding is that sometimes we outplay teams, and on other occasions we haven’t and we’ve found results out of resilience and spirit,” said Smith.

“So these sorts of occasions when you go in front and you’re pegged back and your emotions are up and down and the momentum shifts – you find a hell of a lot about the team and the players find a lot out about themselves. And in a new group they are finding a very good foundation to work from.

“They’ve got resilience to bounce back in games and they’ve got an awful lot of substance when they get in front, so it’s a good mix to have.”

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Smith also believes he has a more talented group of players at his disposal than last season, and despite admitting the difficulty in trying to keep the whole squad happy all of the time, the manager says that in order to be successful this year, he will need a strong squad rather than just a strong starting XI.

“Keeping a competitive group of players engaged and mentally stimulated is not always easy,” he added. “You look on the sideline and see guys that are worthy of starts, so what that does is keep the group strong and fresh as games unfold. And what we’ve also had – which I haven’t seen here before – are players that can change the face of the game and the dimension of our attack.”

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