Stevenage manager Steve Evans says they are in a perfect position as the League Two promotion race reaches the finishing straight - but much like this weekend's Grand National, they now have to hold their form round the elbow and kick on.

Boro slipped out of the top three at Easter for the first time in 2023 following draws with Colchester and Hartlepool.

But with just five points separating the sides in second to sixth, and all three teams above Evans' men having played one game more, the boss was still in relaxed mood, even if he was acutely aware of what was at stake.

He said: "The boys are good and isn't it a fantastic position to be in? Six games to go, most of the others have got five, and we're fighting for promotion to League One.

"It's an exciting time for everyone. 

"I'm a manger where people often talk about my promotions but I've also been a manager where you’re playing mid-table, nothing games at the end of the season and believe me, that's more difficult. 

"Not only do you have to get your players motivated and up fort it, you have to get yourself and the supporters up for it. 

"But no one can say that the Lamex on Saturday and Tuesday and those who go up to Mansfield next week won't be excited. 

"I think there’ll be nothing better when you go into that home straight [of the National] and your jockey is just holding the bridle and waiting to go. 

"But it's not going to be like that. 

"We saw last week that some results went the way that people would have expected but them but a lot of results didn't. A lot of results went the opposite way. 

"It proved that it is difficult to win games in League Two at this stage of the season."

That was perhaps the one gripe about Boro's last three games, all of which have ended 1-1; that the performances for large parts didn't reward them with three points.

That is top of the agenda this week.

Evans said: "The first half [at Hartlepool] was outstanding, our best away performance in months and it should have been done and dusted by half-time. 

"But games are never done by the 45-minute mark, whether you're winning or losing.

"If you look at Colchester at home, we should win. At Northampton, there wasn’t a lot in the first half but we were totally dominant in the second half. 

"And it was a stunning performance but we only got a point and then we go to Hartlepool and we draw that one.  

"We should be sitting here just in the last three games alone with six more points, but no one gives you anything in this game.

"Three points in August is the same as three points on Saturday but in other parts of the season, people forget about it.

"But winning is what needs to be done at this stage of the season. We're all aware of that, the group is aware and we know the pressures that we have. 

"We have to embrace that and we're confident going into them."

One game that epitomised the one poor half, one outstanding half displays of late was the win at Plough Lane over Saturday's opponents, AFC Wimbledon.

The Dons had taken the lead in the first period on a chilly February evening but Boro roared back after the break to win 2-1.

And Evans wants that spirit to be evident again in the next two outings, the second at home to Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday.

"Like Bill Shankly said, the first half was that poor, we’d have drawn the curtains if it was played at the bottom of the garden," said the Boro boss about their performance in south London.

"But it wasn't poor in the second where we suddenly had a belief and we realised we have to win a football match. 

"That’s what Saturday, Tuesday and the remaining games are going to be about. It's about a point accumulation. 

"We're in the position that every team would want except Leyton Orient.  

"Don’t let those other managers in the top six talk bunkum anymore. We might not be in that position on Saturday night but if we look after ourselves in the next two, that's a long, long way towards League One."