Westley: We will need to be better

Boro boss hoping for improved display against AFC Wimbledon in FA Cup

STEVENAGE boss Graham Westley says his team will have to be a lot better than they were on Tuesday night if they are to win Saturday’s televised FA Cup Second Round match at AFC Wimbledon.

Westley made no illusions after the match on the performance against Southend and pointed to his side’s wastefulness in possession as one of the main reasons for the below-par display.

However, he is confident they can progress to the coveted third round if his team can learn from recent matches and stay strong defensively for the full 90 minutes.

“It’s a really difficult place to go,” says Westley.

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“They are very bright and enthusiastic team to play against and it’s going to be a very difficult environment so we know full well we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did against Southend if we’re going to force our way into round three.

“Psychologically it’s always good when you go to a ground where you’ve got good memories and it’s good that you’re going to a place where they’ve got bad memories of your visit. But, it’s a new game, it’s a new season and they will be preparing themselves to try and pull off what now, I suppose, will be called a shock if it were to happen.

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“We’re under no illusions. We know what we’re going to have to do down there. We know we will have to go there and defend extremely resiliently in a very organised way. We’re going to have to impose ourselves on the game and play much, much better football than we did the other night.”

Westley looks likely to welcome back Ronnie Henry and John Mousinho for the trip to Kingsmeadow after the pair missed out on Tuesday due to suspension.

Westley feels his team missed the influence and passing ability of Mousinho in the middle of the park, in particular, against Southend and puts the midfielder alongside Jon Ashton as Boro’s two best players so far this season.

“They (Mousinho and Henry) are both massive players for us,” added Westley.

“I’m sure they were sorely missed the other night because they’ve got great footballing qualities. They are instrumental in a lot of our good play and they help us build possession and retain the ball and develop our play in the final third and I’m sure they will be notable by their returns at the weekend.”

The match will be broadcast live on ITV and, while no doubt the game was initially selected in the hope of witnessing an AFC Wimbledon verses MK Dons tie, Westley says his players are focused only on taking care of the job in hand regardless of who is watching.

He added: “I think you just have to focus on the game. There’s no point worrying about who’s watching it. Every weekend and every game we play is televised. Every goal that gets scored for and against us is televised so I think we’re well used to the television factor.

“Sure, the Stevenage name is going out to the bigger population on a mass basis but we’ve got to concentrate on getting into that third round. It’s going to be a tough, tough game and we’re determined to go there with the work ethic, determination and desire that are needed to win the football match.”

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