Starting places aren’t set in stone, says Doughty

Michael Doughty in action against Crawley Town. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Michael Doughty in action against Crawley Town. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

INTERVIEW: Stevenage midfielder says that competition for places is spurring team on

Michael Doughty says that despite Stevenage’s turnaround in fortunes there still isn’t a guaranteed starting place for any of the players.

Doughty has been in fine form recently and his relationship in the centre of midfield with Simon Heslop is currently keeping last season’s Player of the Year, James Dunne, out of the side.

But despite seeing his team win for a fourth game in five in all competitions, and manager Graham Westley keeping an unchanged side for the first time since the end of August, Doughty says that his manager has plenty of options to choose from should he wish to shake things up.

“I think continuity is important, but we’re all aware that no-one’s place is set in stone,” the on-loan QPR midfielder said.

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“There’s a great squad here, and when we’ve got all the players fit there’s real competition for places.

“I think that’s a pleasing thing for the manager, to have the luxury of not changing the team but also the knowledge that if he needs to bring anyone in there are players more than capable of coming in and playing well.”

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Peter Hartley gave Boro the lead against Crawley in the opening 10 minutes, before Doughty scored his side’s second in the dying moments of the match. It was a pleasing victory, the midfielder said, after a tough week on the road at Walsall and Crewe.

“I think from a team perspective we had a tough game on Tuesday night [at Crewe], it took a lot out of the legs and physically it’s been a tough couple of weeks,” Doughty told the Comet.

“So for us to come in today and put in the display in terms of work ethic that we did and get the 2-0 win was very pleasing, without really being at our best and playing the football we know we’re capable of.

“Me and Heslop had suffered from [food poisoning in the build-up to the game] against Walsall, and it did take a lot out of us. And then to recover from that and go into the Crewe game on Tuesday wasn’t easy.

“As a team we’ve all realised what’s required of us. To win these games in league 1 you’ve got to do the basics right. Now over the last two or three weeks with the Brentford game and starting with MK in the Johnstone’s Paint, we’ve turned the corner now and it’s really pleasing.

“I think I’ve probably been capable of scoring more than I’ve been showing and it’s taken me a little while to get into a rhythm. The last three or four performances I’ve been pleased with personally.

“Goals are really something I’m keen to add to my game from midfield and I know I’m capable of scoring goals and hopefully I can take confidence from that so it was pleasing to get on the scoresheet.”

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