Stevenage's trip to Harrogate Town is now one of the biggest and most pivotal games of the season - and they know that because Sir Alex Ferguson said so.

Boro's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup has revived memories of when Steve Evans took his then non-league Crawley Town to Old Trafford for a fifth-round tie in 2011.

The Sussex side lost 1-0 but Evans has always stated they should have won.

And in the aftermath of the Villa Park triumph, the Boro boss recalled the words of the most famous Scottish manager on that day.

Evans said: "Villa has gone and it will be there forever but our focus is now Harrogate.

"This will be the toughest game of the season. 

"I remember back in the day when I took Crawley to Old Trafford and we lost 1-0. We should have beaten Manchester United too, even Sir Alex is on record on the day saying the best team lost. 

"But the interesting thing he said to me just before I left Old Trafford was the next two games would be our most important of the season. 

"And if you take care of them, you’ll win promotion. 

"We scored late to win both and we comfortably won promotion. 

"Now that doesn’t mean if we win the next two, we’ll get promoted, but it will show that the group can focus very quickly on the core objective which is the league."

The first problem Evans and his management team have is who to play.

New signings Jake Forster-Caskey and Daryl Horgan are both available for the game at Wetherby Road having been cup-tied for Sunday's memorable success.

But if they were to start then it would mean some of the Boro heroes would miss out.

"Everyone wants to play," said Evans, "but you just have to base it on what you think is right for the game and we’ve been studying Harrogate in real detail since Tuesday. 

"For me Aston Villa will be a memory forever and we cannot forget the efforts of the lads, but it is gone in a sense. 

"We need to be focused back into the league campaign. 

"We think we have added real quality to the group in every area, although we still have a few more bits of business to do

"That’s the tough decisions of football. Myself and the staff will sit down and have a debate on the team, and there will be some real debate between the staff and so there should be, and then we’ll call it. 

"If it means one or two are out, then one or two are out. If it means that we go as we were, then that is what will happen. 

"The one thing about the lads who have come in, if ever there was a time to say ‘I can’t put you in’ then it is now.

"That’s the easiest decision. We’ve just beaten Aston Villa, we’re unbeaten in 10, there is a lot of rationale." 

And whoever he chooses for the starting XI, those ready to come on will not be short of quality.

Evans said: "A sign of a really good team is the strength of the bench 

"Some weeks we have been weak and that has been identified when we have been down to four subs. 

"But this weekend will probably be the first time in a long time when there will be people not stripped. 

My team talk should be look who is waiting to come in and look at the games coming up."