‘Things are completely different to last year’ says Stevenage boss Sarll

Darren Sarll

Darren Sarll - Credit: Archant

Darren Sarll is looking forward to the League Two opener against Crewe Alexandra, saying that he’s pleased that the ‘real stuff’ is about to begin.

Wins over Brighton & Hove Albion and MK Dons in pre-season have put Boro in an optimistic mood ahead of tomorrow’s game at the Lamex Stadium, with Sarll saying he’d rate his club’s pre-season at an eight or a nine out of 10.

Boro face Crewe with just one or two injury niggles – Rowan Liburd and Charlie Lee – but Sarll believes his side is in a ‘good place’ ahead of the match.

The Stevenage boss said: “I’m looking forward to it; it’s been a good six weeks of pre-season so I’m very much looking forward to getting into the real stuff now. The trying and the testing [is over], it’s now about performance and results.”

Sarll has so far managed 17 games as Boro boss. Following the sacking of Teddy Sheringham back in February the 33-year-old was initially appointed in a caretaker role before being handed the full-time job at the end of the season.

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After a jittery run of just two victories in his first eight matches in charge, when the new boss was coming to terms with a squad sixth-bottom plus low in both quality and confidence, Sarll says things are different now that he has had a full pre-season behind him.

“It’s completely different to last year. Obviously we’re at the start [of the season] and we’re not in front or behind,” Sarll said.

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“When you’re going into games where potentially the longevity of the academy or peoples’ jobs in the office are at stake [if relegated] it brings in a different type of thinking.

“I was nervous. I definitely had butterflies in those games. I think the Bristol Rovers one at home [April 19, 0-0] we were a point off safety and I’m thinking to myself ‘come on, just one more push chaps’ and I’ve been saying it to them every week.

“We got over the line and then you feel differently. Then the attention turns to earning the job and making sure I come out of that situation with the permanence of being the manager here.

“It’s completely different and hard to explain. I’m just excited to have an opportunity to right our wrongs and have a fantastic opportunity to be the manager of my local club. There are no nerves. I’m just ready and raring to get going.”

In recent days Sarll has spoken about the ‘madness and chaos’ leading up to and including the opening match, which sees Boro face an opponent who were relegated from League One last season, but Sarll says he must remain calm and so must his players.

“I think you get more out of the first game than any other game. Emotions are elevated. People just do a little bit more [and there is the] excitement, adrenaline and enthusiasm,” he said.

“It’s 12 or so games before the league starts to settle down. The opening day is a real tough day to keep the players calm, thinking clearly on what you’ve done.

“I want them to be focused on what the objective is and go about overcoming that objective. Whatever comes to us on Saturday it’s a really tough game but the good news is we’re at [home]. It’s a real bonus for us and I can’t wait to walk out at the Lamex.”

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