Sarll issues battle cry to “prickly” crowd to guide Boro to Portsmouth victory

Stevenage fans

Stevenage fans - Credit: Archant

Darren Sarll wants tomorrow’s (Saturday) crowd for their League Two clash with high-flying Portsmouth to be his side’s 12th man

The south coast outfit head to the Lamex Stadium in reasonable form, clinging to a play-off spot by a single point after just one defeat in their previous five games.

In contrast, Boro’s recent performances have been good but Sarll’s men have still fallen to two successive defeats, at Carlisle United and then at home to Exeter City.

However, their previous maximum points haul came via a 2-0 derby win over Cambridge United just under three weeks ago and the caretaker boss is looking to replicate that energetic matchday ambience to help Stevenage pick up some more vital points.

Sarll said: “It’s going to be a tough game, no different to any of the others and one when a Pompey side comes to your ground, you know they’re going to bring a few [fans] and bang a drum and the atmosphere’s going to probably kick up.

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“Our East terracing and the Lamex ground as a whole has been rocking in recent weeks though so it should make for a great atmosphere on Saturday,

“I think we saw against Cambridge that when the atmosphere is quite vibrant and a bit prickly, I think that’s when we see the best of our side as well.”

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The dynamic duo of Adam Marriott and Ben Kennedy could be outside bets for starting spots after both notched goals in Stevenage Reserves’ 4-0 over Queens Park Rangers U21s on Tuesday as they continue their rehabilitation after lengthy lay-offs.

Marriott, who is yet to start a competitive game this season due to a catalogue of injuries, has come off the bench in the closing stages of Boro’s previous two league games and bagged three successive 90-minute appearances in reserve action.

Kennedy, absent for the past two months following knee surgery, also featured late on last Saturday against Exeter.

With Boro having fired two blanks in their previous two games, the pair’s attacking presence in the starting line-up would be a much-needed boost for the hosts.

Sarll said: “If you look at some of the desperation we’ve shown in the box in recent weeks where we’ve snatched and swiped at things, I don’t think that can be said for Adam Marriott. He would take anything with composure and calmness.

“Scoring goals and playing in the manner he did against QPR will only do his chances of starting the world of good.”

On Kennedy, Sarll said: “He’s getting closer. I think Ben is always ready to start because of that mentality he has.

“I think Ben came out of the operating theatre and was ready to start. I love that about him. He’s getting fitter and stronger.

“Ben is always in my thoughts in terms of creating a goal and scoring a goal.”

Sarll’s hand might be forced in the selection of his recovering warriors after he confirmed Aaron O’Connor would definitely miss the Pompey test.

The striker limped off against Exeter shortly after coming on as substitute and could be sidelined for “a couple of weeks”.

Dean Parrett should be included in Saturday’s squad while Chris Whelpdale is close to a return to the first team.

For updates from Stevenage v Portsmouth, follow @stevenageborofc on Twitter from 3pm.

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