Sarll praises Stevenage squad strength ahead of Mansfield Town trip

Darren Sarll.

Darren Sarll. - Credit: Archant

Darren Sarll is delighted to have quality competition for places in his Stevenage side as they prepare to travel to Mansfield Town on Saturday in Sky Bet League Two.

The likes of experienced midfield duo Steven Schumacher and Michael Tonge were on the bench alongside defender Dean Wells for last weekend’s disappointing 2-1 home loss to Keith Curle’s unbeaten Carlisle United.

Sarll said: “The culture of my club is based on merit and if people deserve to keep their shirt, they keep their shirt, and if they don’t, they come and sit next to me on the bench.

“If Fraser [Franks] and Luke [Wilkinson] have got the starting spots in central defence and they look and see Dean Wells on the bench that would switch me on because Dean Wells is a terrific player, it’s about creating that competition and we certainly have that.

“They continue to compete.

“Dean is fine [fitness-wise] he’s circling waiting for Fraser and Luke to slip up.

“Steve has worked unbelievably hard to get himself right and ready [after a cruciate knee ligament injury] and when Charlie [Lee] and Jack [King] decide to throw a complacent foot in front of them then Schuey will be ready to pounce.

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“Dean Wells, Tonge, Schumacher; it was a terrific bench off the pitch on Saturday and you could see the impact of the substitutions.

“[Harry] McKirdy did well when he came on, Tom Pett did great, Michael came on and kept the ball very well.

“It was a good bench, a good squad and good competition which means training is forever competitive and of a good nature which helps us improve and develop the group of players we have.”

Sarll takes his squad to Field Mill on Saturday to take on The Stags managed by Adam Murray, a man the Boro boss has plenty of time for.

“I have lots of admiration for the manager, he is a terrific manager,” said Sarll.

“I’m a young manager, he has a little more experience than me and I was very impressed with his side last year in particular.

“When I was a first team coach I did cast an eye over Mansfield quite a lot because I enjoyed what he was trying to achieve there.

“My role is different now and I have to look at things a little bit differently, but they’ve got a good side, very established and another side that we’ll play against that has lots of senior players.

“They are going through a different transition to us, but are very organised, they run for the manager and we know going to Mansfield will be a difficult place in terms of the environment they create there as a set of supporters.

“It’s going to be a tough game, they are all tough games, it’s just a crazy league and we have to prepare our absolute best every week.”

Sarll confirmed striker Matt Godden will be fit following a knock against Carlisle, while his playing options could be further boosted as winger Jobi McAnuff (toe) and forward Tyler Walker (knee) could return from injury.