Reaction to Hartlepool loss was key to Stevenage’s five-game unbeaten streak

Darren Sarll

Darren Sarll - Credit: Archant

Defeat and a poor performance away at Hartlepool United just over a month ago was the catalyst on which Stevenage have built their current five-match unbeaten streak, says boss Darren Sarll.

Boro will be looking to make that six in a row without loss on Saturday as they travel to Gresty Road to face David Artell’s Crewe Alexandra.

With his side now eighth in the league table, just a point outside the play-off places, Sarll said: “The starting point to the change was the reaction to the performance at Hartlepool, which was nowhere good enough, and there was a real reaction from the players subsequently at Grimsby [a 2-0 win].

“That was great because this group of players, they do respond and that’s one of their positive traits.”

Finding the right blend of youth and experience has also been key to that success.

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“We found a lovely balance to our side,” said Sarll.

“We found an amalgamation of the young players and the senior players, I don’t think we flooded the team with lots of senior players, I don’t think we’ve flooding the team with lots of young players, we have a nice balance in terms of their age and experience.

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“Their attitude is aligned, they have played in harmony and we have had a decent period, but that period is behind us.”

With Stevenage edging closer to the play-offs, Sarll insists he will not be getting ahead of himself and will be taking each game as it comes.

“One at a time,” he said.

“Which does mean that you reduce your window of preparation for some games, like the Tuesday night game [at home to Leyton Orient].

“If I take my theory of one at a time I give myself Sunday, Monday to inject the information into the players and the necessary practicalities of preparing for a game over two days rather than four or five.

“Just one at a time, I don’t know from where we are going to be Sunday morning in so many different facets; morale, performance, result, league table, has someone had a bad night at home, there’s a million and one things.

“Our target has always been to be competitive and to re-establish Stevenage in League Two, which I feel like we are doing.

“I think we are exceeding expectation at the moment.

“Play-offs to me are irrelevant at the moment because if we don’t get Saturday right, play-offs might be somewhere off in the distance.

“Let’s just make sure we win the next game.”

Stevenage will be taking a bigger than normal squad to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

Several injuries have hit the players this week as they prepare to take their good form to Gresty Road.

Sarll, added: “We are actually going to be taking quite a large group with us to Crewe and give it as long as we can in order to pick our strongest side.

“Never before have I ever put a player in harm’s way as such, if they have had an injury and they can’t meet levels that we need them to meet, so I’ll never put them in harm’s way but if we feel medically they are good to go we’ll put them there.”

Jack King is unlikely to feature having just returned to training this week. Captain Ronnie Henry was forced out of training early earlier today [Thursday], while the club’s top scorer Matt Godden and midfielder Steven Schumacher are having their training specifically tailored to their fitness after knocks.

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