Smith expects Stevenage response

Gavin Mahon. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Gavin Mahon. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

However, Boro will be without suspended James Dunne and David Gray for Bournemouth game

Stevenage manager Gary Smith says he expects a response from his players when they face AFC Bournemouth this evening (Tuesday).

Boro go into the game on the back of a 2-0 defeat and a poor performance at Preston North End on Saturday, and Smith says he expects his team to bounce back adding that he believes the Stevenage fans will not allow their team to under-perform.

Smith’s men have a disappointing home record this season, having won just five of their 18 league matches at the Lamex. Yet although their league record both home and away since the turn of the year has been poor, they did put in an energetic display the previous time they were on home soil last Tuesday when they were convincing in a 1-0 win over Brentford.

“What you can expect when you’re at home in a very different venue, you know it’ll be an energetic and up-and-at-‘em display,” Smith said.

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“For whatever reason on a Saturday afternoon away from home up [at Preston] against a side that we all know have got quality players in it, we found life difficult.

“I think the guys on Tuesday and then again on Saturday [at home to Sheffield United] against teams that you’ve got to be up for, I don’t think our fans will let us walk into the game flat and not giving it everything we’ve got.”

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On Saturday Stevenage fell behind to two goals in the first 16 minutes, and after a sluggish first-half display performed slightly better in the second half but not by enough to get anything from the match.

“The front two [Marcus Haber and Sam Hoskins] didn’t look anywhere as close to what we had seen on Tuesday night against Brentford,” Smith said.

“The efforts that the guys had given us on Tuesday maybe had a bit of an affect, [added to] a long journey up [to Preston], but I’m being kind to them saying that.

“There’s no reason why the quality of players, the young youthful nature of the players we have, of course Gavin Mahon aside, shouldn’t be why we can’t turn it around and get it done.

“If you break the game down simply, we didn’t pass it well enough, technique wasn’t tight enough, choices were too erratic and then you find that there’s too many players being dominated by their opponents.

“That’s simply what happened and Preston took advantage of that.”

Stevenage go into tonight’s match without their two most consistent performers this season.

Both right-back David Gray and central midfielder James Dunne are out through suspension, Gray serving the first of a two-match ban and Dunne serving the second of his.

On-loan Gavin Mahon may also miss out. The defensive midfielder was taken off midway through the second half at Preston North End on Saturday through injury.

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