Stevenage boss Darren Sarll: Brighton will be a tough game but we’re looking forward to it

Stevenage FC prepare to host Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow.

Stevenage FC prepare to host Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow. - Credit: Archant

With bullish Stevenage boss Darren Sarll instilling a focus and intensity to Boro’s pre-season his troops are set for another tough game tomorrow against Championship visitors Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Lamex outfit has had a positive summer so far, edging out St Albans 3-2, putting six goals past Bishop’s Stortford, but losing 2-0 to Premiership side Watford. However, it is clear there is a positivity and sense of purpose about Sarll’s men already this summer – in direct contrast to the often chaotic pre-season experienced under the unfortunate Teddy Sheringham this time last year.

Speaking to the Comet ahead of Saturday’s game Sarll said: “Brighton is our toughest test to date. I think they’ve got a stability in their manager’s, Chris Hughton’s position. They all know what is expected of them.

“Watford were unbelievably talented with a world renowned head coach in former Italian footballer Walter MAzzarri – but it was early days for them in terms of preseason and in terms of their understanding what their new manager expects of them.

“However there will be an understanding right from the word go with what Chris wants and what he expects.


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“I expect it to be a really tough game for us on Saturday.”

Reflecting on the club’s summer so far Sarll added: “We had a lot of the ball against Bishops Stortfold for example but I’m not expecting to have a great deal of the ball against Brighton.

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“It’s about our players practicing their defensive responsibilities and being organised – but I still want us to attack, and to have a purpose to our play regardless of who we are playing.”

Sarll has been busy integrating new signings such as Rowan Liburd and Jobi McAnuff into the squad, as well as expecting established youngsters to kick on this term.

He explained: “Rowan is very young, alongside our other young ones like Tom Conlon, Tom Pett, and Ben Kennedy – but Jobi’s a little more experienced and what I wanted to do was bring another experienced attacking player like Jobi to give us the impact someone like Michael Tongue gave us last year.”

McAnuff’s capture was a real coup give his experience and talent – as well as the leadership the former Reading and Orient man can offer on and off the park as a mentor to the younger players.

Praising the player Sarll said: “Jobi’s composure, his knowledge of the game – the fact he’s probably seen different types of situations before, and the fact he will be able to slow the game down and realise we don’t have to go at 100 miles and hour – will be a huge boost.

“Young players want to play at 100mph which is natural - but with time and through experience they’ll realise you can’t, and you shouldn’t,

“Jobi will give us another leader, and will be an experienced head in order to support the development of the young ones in the team.

“I have to say of all the transfer discussions with players over the summer Jobi’s was the easiest one to conduct - which just goes to show he was someone who fitted our profile as a person. I was really pleased to get that deal through.

“It will be tough but we are all looking forward to the game tomorrow.”

Brighton, who narrowly failed in their play-off bid last term are set to wrap up their pre-season with a game against Serie A Italian giants Lazio a week on Sunday – but first they face a vibrant Boro side at 5.30pm tomorrow as part of their Saturday double header by taking a large squad to games at Luton Town and The Lamex.

It promises to be an intriuging game.

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