Stevenage have ‘gone up a level’ this year says Darren Sarll ahead of Portsmouth

Darren Sarll speaks to The Comet at the training ground press conference.

Darren Sarll speaks to The Comet at the training ground press conference. - Credit: Archant

Darren Sarll says Stevenage ‘have gone up a level’ this year but now it’s up to his players to stay there.

Boro’s defeat at Blackpool on Tuesday evening was the club’s first since January 21 and they head into Saturday’s home game with Portsmouth sixth in the League Two table 24 points better off than at the same point last season.

Automatic promotion is still within the club’s grasp and a win over third-place Pompey this weekend will move Stevenage to within four points of the top three, and while Sarll says that there may be ‘bumps and breakdowns’ along the way it is now important for his side to respond to Tuesday’s loss with another win this weekend.

“The great thing about the way we work here is that I don’t think anyone is ever satisfied,” Sarll said.

“I’m far too ambitious to want to sit and muddle it over in mid-table or fight against relegation like last year. We always strive to be better and we’ve set new standards this year like the club’s never set; the way we pass the ball, the way we play, the way we run, our togetherness.

“I think we’ve broken boundaries the club hasn’t seen even in its more successful days. We’re trying to rebrand the football club, trying to make sure players come here and know they’ll get good coaching and be looked after physically.

“All of these things which make Stevenage more professional and develop the reputation and its brand in the local and national community of football, but it does take time.”

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Sarll continued: “Like we’ve heard before there were some folk very unhappy with what we were doing in the depths of dark December [when Boro were in the bottom half] but here we are now.

“We’ve all done what we said we’ll do; we’ve stuck together and come out massively through the other side.

“I can’t emphasise enough the target this year was to establish Stevenage competitively. We’re doing that and I think we’ve gone another level up as well in the same time frame.

“How long we can stay there is down to the consistency and form of the players and we’ll do everything we can to roll out performances like Wycombe and Luton away as often as possible.

“Human nature tells you at times there will be bumps and breakdowns and we have to respond.”