There is no free ticket to get into my Stevenage side says Sarll ahead of AFC Wimbledon clash

Michael Tonge has been used as an example by Darren Sarll of just what it takes to force your way in

Michael Tonge has been used as an example by Darren Sarll of just what it takes to force your way into a side from a young age - Credit: Archant

Darren Sarll says any players who want to play for Stevenage in the club’s last two games of the season must earn the right to do so.

Dean Parrett

Dean Parrett - Credit: Archant

Boro host AFC Wimbledon on Saturday before making the trip to Accrington Stanley the following weekend, and are currently in the middle of a run of form that has seen them lose just once in their past seven games.

Sarll, though, has dismissed the notion that he may throw in a group of young players for the last couple of games to see how they get on, saying that anyone who features will have earned the right to do so.

Boro’s caretaker boss told the Comet: “If they deserve to start they’ll start, but if they don’t they won’t.

“I will not cheapen the experience of representing Stevenage by just throwing in a group of lads because they feel like they should get a game at the end of the year.


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“My intention is to win the game and I will pick the team I think is best prepared to win the game. It might be last Saturday’s team or a completely new team.

“Whatever I see in five days of training will dictate the direction I go in terms of line-up and strategy.”

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Sarll cited one of his more experience players as an example of somebody who sets the bar in terms of just what it takes to work hard, bide your time and force your way into a starting XI at a young age.

“Michael Tonge was never given a free ride as young lad, he had to earn it [at Sheffield United], said Sarll.

“These managers, the Neil Warnocks of this world, they wouldn’t have given them a free ticket to a game.

“I want our young players to have to go through the same challenge like Michael had.

“Look at Dean [Parrett]. He’s had to earn his right to get back into the middle of the pitch.

“Dean’s reputation from a year ago didn’t warrant him playing automatically in the middle but he’s earned it. He’s worked hard, got fitter and become a better pro.

“Dale Gorman, Tom Conlon, Charlie Lee, who has been terrific for me, they’ve got to do the same thing and oust Michael Tonge and Dean Parrett.

“Good luck. They’re playing very well at the minute. They’ve got to go and rip the shirt off [Michael and Dean’s] back and have that desire to do so.”

Boro come up against an AFC Wimbledon team looking to secure a play-off place this weekend.

It is a different proposition from last week’s 4-1 drubbing of Morecambe.

“They are a completely different beast from Morecambe,” Sarll added.

“Morecambe were just above us, safe. They had a terrific start to season but had started to fall away in these latter stages.

“AFC are full steam ahead and trying to secure play-off place. They will want to come out all guns blazing.

“We need to make sure we select a team that’s prepared to deal with that. We’re not playing Morecambe anymore. We have to focus on the new challenge ahead, which is a very will drilled AFC Wimbledon side.”

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