Stevenage boss Dino Maamria Q&A as Boro gear up for Crawley Town
PUBLISHED: 20:29 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 20:29 10 January 2019
Stevenage boss Dino Maamria has been speaking in-depth about Boro ahead of the League Two clash against Crawley Town at the Lamex on Saturday. Read on for what he told Layth Yousif.
After the defeat at Cambridge how’s your week been Dino?
Well, it’s been alright. We’re getting over the loss to Cambridge. The week on the back of a loss always starts difficult but you got to dust yourself down and look at the next game because you can always bounce back.
How’s the team looking ahead of Saturday’s game against Crawley?
I think what we realise is we haven’t been very good in those Saturday Tuesday games because we produced a big performance at Colchester and then we go to Crewe and we don’t find the legs and then we produced a huge performance against Newport with 10 men and then three days later we don’t get the legs we needed. It’s obvious that our squad is stretched, even when we have two lads carrying injuries but they are playing. The lads are putting their bodies on the line to be fair to them, you can never knock them for that. It’s a trend. Hopefully we’ll break out of it with the games now coming in every Saturday which should give us a chance to regroup and attack the rest of the season.
Any players coming in?
Hopefully. It’s really difficult because every club is strengthening but we as a football club we have a low budget from the start. We are in a more fortunate position this season than last season. Last season the club at this time ended up signing five or six players because the club was concerned about maintaining its Football League status. This season we are more the other end of the table. Having said that I’m never going to jeopardise the clubs future to go over budget and try to chase something that is not there. We know to achieve something we’ve got to over achieve. We are over achieving. With the players we have, we are where we are with the budget in terms of the league. If you look at the ten clubs above us, it tells you all you need to know because the ten clubs above us their budget is hugely bigger than ours and you see us there just behind them and the club is where we are on-part with in terms of results and budget down at the bottom so we’re in a fantastic position as a football club but like I say we are sticking to the budget, if we can get an unbelieve cheap player somewhere then we will do that. If we can’t we’ve just got to crack on and move forward with the same group of players.
Interest in any Stevenage players?
No, we know Seny has gone back to QPR. We’ll try and find out about Steve Seddon in the next 24 hours or so but he’s with us this weekend and we’ll have him this weekend and then we’ll worry about that next week.
Injury updates ahead of Crawley?
Joel has been struggling with his groin, Timlin obviously with his thigh. Half the players have played one too many games, Revell has been rested in the past couple of games, he came back strong and now hopefully he’s better. Hopefully everybody is fit, we’ll have a look at Newton as well he didn’t train on Tuesday so we’ll wait and see on that one. Like I said we carried a difficult Christmas period where we played a lot of games with the same group of players and it took its toll on the lads and hopefully now it’s a chance to get them back together and we kick on.
Does gulf between lower leagues and Premier League feel bigger than ever?
It is I feel the gulf in League Two. We play Bury and Mansfield and Lincoln and players who are on five times the amount of money that my players are on. They can pick and choose but I’ve got great players like Byrom and Hunt and they’ve been chucked away from Mansfield so unfortunately that’s what we have, we take the players that the higher teams in our league don’t want and have them with us. That’s how it is but that doesn’t bother me, I’ve never said once that I want to create something with a big budget. I’ve got to try to make sure that I recruit smart, promote players in from the academy and Saturday against Cambridge we had two U18s that played. Arthur started and Liam came on so we do know those things and we are where we are in the league. It could be better of course we could be, if we won last Saturday we’d be four points off third. We didn’t unfortunately but we’re there and we’re in a fantastic position to attack the rest of the season and like I said we got to see it how it is, the chairman has been fantastic. This club has been struggling the past few years financially, everybody thinks the money from Wilmot and Godden went into the budget but it didn’t go to the budget, the club has struggled the past few years making huge losses and it has gone to that but I’ve got a group of players I believe can achieve something in the rest of the season.
Stevenage are capable of great performance like Crawley away aren’t they?
Yeah we were rubbish first-half as I remember it but it was a fantastic second-half. It’s probably the story of our season really being poor first-half but good second-half. At least we were good second-half I think we’ve been good in second halves because of various things. One of them is that we’ve been good on the bench in terms of the changes to adapt to the game and the other one that will always be shown is the resilience that the players show at the back end of games to finish games strongly but I think Crawley away we enjoyed the win there, it’s going to be a different game this time, they are on the back of two wins, they have 3 clean sheets. Obviously they have a different manager there, they’ve gone through a difficult patch and they’ve gone back to keeping clean sheets first and foremost and that works for them because they kept clean sheets against Newport 0-0, they beat Colchester 2-0 and then they won against Cheltenham at the weekend 1-0 as well so they are in a good place. Anyone who turns up to expect Crawley to roll over for a beating it’s not going to happen. Crawley are a club similar to us, similar size and we’re both fighting for the same cause. It’s going to be a difficult game but we’ve both got to be right at it to win the game.
What do you make of the inconsistency?
A lot of people say we are inconsistent, but we’ve got to find out ‘why is that?’ My reason for that is obvious. Physically we haven’t been able to adapt to play on a Saturday Tuesday. Against Newport we played 55 minutes with 10 men against a very good Newport team. We put in a lot of leg work a lot of energy in the team and three days later we couldn’t beat Cambridge so how you address that is with a deeper squad of more players to give that injection that you need and hopefully keep all the players fit. The top clubs in our league, the Mansfields the Lincolns, they can change four or five players because they’ve got benches as good as their first team players and they go and make changes on a Tuesday because they can do that. We can’t do that and that’s something we’ve got to focus on. We’ve got to make sure we at least nick a draw on a bad day, we don’t just lose on a bad day. On a good day we always do well in games but we need to make sure when we are not playing so well, we get something from the game.
Should we expect a lot of changes for Crawley game?
No because we’ve got a week to rest. In the space of three days I’ve been saying that even after we beat MK Dons I think the Saturday we went to Swindon and lost on the Tuesday night, it’s been a feature of what we have been doing. We haven’t recovered well between Saturday and Tuesday. Like I said the top teams go and change four or five players but we don’t have that luxury. But we’ve got a week now to regroup and I think we’ve only got one midweek game for the rest of the season so that will hopefully give us some consistency in planning, preparing the team and getting the team through to the end of the game.
Should we expect to see more youngsters come into the side?
The young players are always expecting to come through. It’s not a lot of difference between now and the start of the season. We’re still where we are and if those U18s are good enough they will get into the first team. I’ve proved that in the past, Arthur has already made three or four starts, Liam will hopefully make starts, if they carry on in what they do they can come in. I’m not someone who will start just chucking them in, if they are good enough they will play in the first team.