Competition for places is driving Stevenage on says boss on eve of League Two season

Steve Evans knows who will be in the starting XI for Stevenage when they play Tranmere Rovers.

Steve Evans knows who will be in the starting XI for Stevenage when they play Tranmere Rovers. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Steve Evans says he knows who will take to the field for day one of Stevenage's League Two season but admitted that his mind had been changed by performances in training.

Boro begin their new campaign away to Tranmere Rovers and with 48 hours to go, the boss has been delighted with the attitude, the focus and the efforts of his squad.

He said: "We addressed them eight or nine days ago and told them we are getting ready now. 

"Performances do matter in training and my thoughts and Paul’s thoughts have changed towards the team, just based on the last five or six sessions in training. 

"It does change you but you get to a stage where you have to settle your mind and we understand in every small detail what Tranmere will be about. 

"We have to make sure we are organised and strong and we have to make sure we take chances when they come. 

"There’s been a real focus and a real determination from everyone to make the team and that’s the first thing you look for.

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"Coming back with something added to the points tally will be a big result because it is a tough place to go. 

"But we’ll be ready." 

The boss is no stranger to day one of a new football season but that hasn't made the excitement any less.

However, he knows that taken on their own, they are just another match and it won't be until September before they get a clear idea of where the year will take them.

Evans said: "The opening day to any football season is brilliant for any manager or any player. 

"They are all exciting. There are some when you are at home and you’re expecting a good crowd or you think you’ll deal with others with ease and it doesn’t happen. 

"First days are never a sign of where you are going to be. 

"Over the years I’ve won and lost a lot on the opening day but it is the 10-game mark when you can assess yourself and individuals. 

"However, opening day is exciting for anyone involved in football from the manager to the chairman to the ones who help with the cooking and the laundry. 

"The supporters are the most important though. Opening day for them is fantastic, it is the start of freedom again where football takes over their lives. 

They head into the year on the back of an undefeated pre-season for the first-team squad but that still hasn't stopped some predicting another year of struggles.

And the boss is not getting too carried away, even if he is determined to prove the doubters wrong.

""Pre-season has been a mix," he said. "Parts we’ve been delighted with but there are others where we are still trying to get chemistry within the group. 

"If we play the way we did against Peterborough and West Brom we’ll be very good but if we don’t play very well against Tranmere, we’ll get nothing. 

"We’re tipped by every tipster to finish in the bottom four or five again. 

"Our first objective is to prove them wrong and then after 10 games we’ll have a look to see if we got our recruitment right, because that’s when we’ll know."

Evans revealed that all players had been involved in training, including Dean Campbell who had recovered from a slight injury.