We will not be complacent – Smith

Boro boss looks ahead to Saturday’s trip to rock-bottom Hartlepool United

GARY SMITH insists his Stevenage side will not be complacent when they take on basement side Hartlepool United on Saturday.

Pools have only won once in League 1 all season – a 2-0 win over Scunthorpe on September 1 – and are currently 10 points adrift of safety. They brought in manager John Hughes last month to replace Neale Cooper after the north east side’s dreadful start to the season, but they failed to win any of the three matches since Hughes arrived.

Despite their desperate form, Smith won’t be taking anything for granted at Victoria Park and says it will be another tough test for his squad as they look to get back to winning ways themselves after going four games without a win.

“I honestly don’t think there are any easy games in this league. They range from tough to really tough. We’ll be travelling the full length of the country to play against a team with a new manager and fighting for their lives and that’s not easy,” said Smith.

“For us it’s a matter of getting our minds in gear and the bodies ready and hopefully we can add to some really good away results this season, because we want to get back on that winning trail again.

“And once we get back from Hartlepool we have some really difficult games with teams up at the top end of the table so it doesn’t change – it’s difficult every week but for different reasons.”

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Smith says it is tough when coming up against a team that has recently appointed a new manager, due to the unpredictable nature of the opponents’ mindset and motivation.

“What we’ve run into on two or three occasions already this season, for example when Kevin Blackwell took over at Bury before coming to our place, is that there’s a renewed vigour in the outfit and possibly a different style and emphasis in the training. John [Hughes] will be trying to impart some of his guidance and direction on the team as they try and get out of that relegation fight.

“One thing we know is their players have a new opportunity. When Neale was there, one or two of the players might have felt it wasn’t for them as they were out of the team, but now everyone is back in the mix with a new manager to impress. They have got a really difficult situation to get out of, and they know they have got time to do it and that challenge starts right now.”