Stevenage up for the Charlton Athletic challenge

STEVENAGE boss Gary Smith saw Boro’s seven match unbeaten run come to an end at Notts County on Wednesday, but he is looking for his side to begin another hot streak of results starting against Charlton Athletic tomorrow (Saturday).

The testing trip to The Valley to take on the npower League 1 leaders in their own back yard is a challenge the ex-Colorado Rapids chief is relishing.

He said: “What we know is that we’re capable of going on a good run and we’d like to start that run on Saturday at The Valley against a Charlton side who have proven to be difficult to beat there.

“And of course it won’t be an easy task, but if any group is up to it, it is this one.”

Boro’s 1-0 midweek defeat to County, courtesy of Jeff Hughes’ 91st minute effort, was Smith’s first loss since he became the Stevenage boss last month.

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“We had been on a terrific run,” he said. “I think it was one defeat in 21 games before that, so for that unbeaten run to go was a huge disappointment.

“However, I thought the performance warranted something out of the game.

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“When we look back and reflect on the performance, after such an emotionally and physically tough weekend against Tottenham, the guys performed admirably.

“We failed to trouble the goalkeeper enough and got done with a sucker punch in the dying seconds of the game.

“There’s not too much to be disappointed about with the performance, the guys will be ready for the weekend they’re in good spirits.”

Of Chris Powell’s Addicks, Smith said: “They are going really well, they have had a fabulous season, Chris has done a great job there.

“They really are the most consistent side in the league, there will be 27,000 people there at the weekend, probably 24,000 of them Charlton fans, but what it does create is a wonderful atmosphere.”

It is a stadium in which the Boro boys will be determined to give a great account of themselves.

“These guys here, they are the underdogs per se, nobody expects these guys to perform, to win or to do well,” he added.

“The fact is they relish these games where getting one over somebody if they can means far more than probably a matter of fact game.

“When you taste defeat again it’s not a nice feeling and the players are well and truly up for the challenge again at the weekend and getting back on track.”

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