Stevenage boss Dino Maamria Q&A as he issues rallying cry ahead of Carlisle: ‘Let’s take every game by the scruff of the neck and have no regrets come the end of the season’
Stevenage boss Dino Maamria has been speaking ahead of Boro’s home game with Carlisle at the Lamex on Saturday as the club make a late push for the final play-off spot. Read on for what he told sports journalist Layth Yousif during his Q&A at the club’s training ground on Thursday.
LY: Dino Maamria, you’ve got a big game on Saturday at the Lamex against Carlisle on the back of the excellent 2-0 victory at Grimsby last weekend?
DM: Yes, it’s the type of game that we relish. A team above us in the league with the same objective as us namely a play-off spot. We’re looking forward to it. I think it’s nice to play this type of game. We seem to do well. The last game like this against a team above us was Swindon Town at the Lamex last month and we beat them.
It’s a game where we’ll have to be very good to win the match. Carlisle have been very good all season. They invested heavily in January. They’ve got very good players. They’re clearly looking for promotion via the play-offs. There’s still a lot of twists and turns to come this season. There are five games left. It’s all to play for.
LY: Do you believe Stevenage have a chance of making the play-offs?
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DM: Well if you look at the results this week you’ll see Macclesfield beating Exeter. They were lucky to get a draw against us last month. They’re a different team to the one they were at the start of the season and it was a superb result for them beating Exeter 3-2.
Newport and Swindon drew so if you’re looking at the results this week then anything is possible but we don’t want to be looking back at the end of the season and thinking ‘what if’?
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We don’t want to be looking back at the end of the season at late goals we conceded that cost us points.
That’s the message I keep drilling into the players: ‘Let’s take every game by the scruff of the neck and have no regrets come the end of the season.
Let’s make sure we give ourselves the best chance possible to finish the season well.
Let’s carry on from last week at Grimsby against Carlisle at home on Saturday.
We’ve then got Port Vale away on Good Friday. We’re capable of winning those games as long as we’re prepared.
We need to play with belief. If we do anything is possible.
LY: The lads seem in good spirits after training. What’s the squad like in terms of injuries?
DM: We are a bit light. We’ve had a few injuries. Ilias Chair is struggling after his injury at Grimsby on Saturday. We know Rev [Alex Revell] is struggling. Danny Newton came on at Grimsby and got a knock. We’ve got a few struggling but I think that will give a few lads the opportunity to come in and show what they can do and give us the energy we need.
LY: Just to confirm specifically regarding Ilias. It looked a bad one when I saw it at Blundell Park but I gather he has rallied this week. How is he after his ankle injury at Grimsby?
DM: Well, you’ve seen him. He is struggling. He’s been unlucky with injuries. Maybe this weekend is too much of an ask for him but let’s wait and see. If he doesn’t make it, it’ll be a big blow for us because he’s been a fantastic player for us this season. But it is what it is and if it’ll be a fantastic opportunity for someone else to step in and grab their chance.
LY: Do you have a message for the town of Stevenage in terms of backing the team as they make a late bid for a play-off place?
DM: The result at Grimsby helps. A good win with a clean sheet. It’s an exciting time for us. When you go past the Lamex now you can see the stands going up. You can see the cranes at work. Finally, to see the stadium shaping up is a big positive. We’ll be looking forward to the fans filling it next season once it’s finished. It’s been a good week for Stevenage Football Club.
Follow sports reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29