Roberts targeting six-point haul over Easter weekend

Skipper says it’s vital Boro make up ground in race for play-offs

STEVENAGE captain Mark Roberts is targeting a six-point return from the two crucial matches over this Easter weekend.

The centre-half, along with his team-mates, was devastated last Saturday after the match against Wycombe Wanderers, who scored a stoppage-time penalty to deny Boro a valuable three points – a result that saw them lose ground in the play-off race after late wins for rivals Carlisle United and Notts County.

But Roberts, 28, says there is no chance of his team giving up the ghost despite a run of just one win in 11 games, and is desperate for a maximum return from Good Friday’s trip to Tranmere Rovers and Monday’s clash with Preston North End.

“We’re all remaining upbeat,” Roberts told the Comet on Tuesday. “There is still a very long way to go and there will be a lot of twists and turns yet.

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“There is no good in us feeling sorry for ourselves, which is not in our make-up, and we’ve just got to work hard to bounce back. Of course it was a big disappointment at the weekend, but things like that happen. Carlisle’s goal in the last couple of minutes made a big shift in the league table so it’s really important that we look to get back in it with six points over the weekend.”

There has never been a defeatist attitude within this team. Even last season they suffered a dip in form at a similarly crucial time [one win in the last six games of the campaign] before sneaking into the play-offs and ultimately earning their place in League 1 at Old Trafford in May. And given this team’s habit of defying the odds, it seems premature to discount them from reaching the play-offs just yet.

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However they are sure to face a difficult test on Friday when they travel to Prenton Park to take on in-form Tranmere. Ronnie Moore’s team are currently third in the form charts, and have won their last three home matches.

“There is no easy game in this league,” said Roberts. “All the teams are fighting for points for different reasons. Tranmere have had an upturn in form since their new manager came in, and despite having a bad result last weekend [losing 2-0 at Bury] they will want that good form to continue.”

Monday’s match with Preston sees the return of former boss Graham Westley in a match that Roberts says will have a bit of extra spice to it. “Stevenage playing Preston is a big game anyway,” he added. “With the management coming back it adds that bit of extra spice, and if we can get six points from the two games we will be right back in there.

“We want to finish the season on a high because we have done incredibly well. We have a habit of finishing seasons strongly and we want to repeat that.

“We’re unbeaten in nine – of course there have been a lot of draws which is a big frustration for everyone – and it’s difficult because we want to win every game. But we know we can still make the play-offs. We’ve got a fantastic opportunity.”

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