"We're in a position we hoped we'd be in" says Boro boss ahead of Exeter City test
PUBLISHED: 15:41 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:41 17 February 2017
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Darren Sarll feels Stevenage have 'slipped under the radar' in League Two in recent weeks with good results boosting their chances of a play-off berth come the end of the campaign.
Ahead of tomorrow’s (Saturday) trip to Devon to take on a resurgent Exeter City, four league wins on the spin have seen Boro rise to ninth in the table and they are now just two points off the play-off spots, leading manager Sarll to suggest his side are ‘exceeding expectations’ at present.
Sarll said: “We’re in a position we hoped we’d be in, with something to play for in the last third of the season.
“This time last year we had just been beaten by Carlisle and we were looking at things and saying ‘this is going to be a bit of a battle.
“In the same way there’s that same pressure now but we don’t look at it as a battle. It’s not [a situation] that demoralises, drains or saps you.
“It’s one that engages, energises and enthuses you and I think you can see that in the players’ performances.
“You can see they’re excited by the challenge, I’m excited by the challenge.
“We’ve done what we feel we should be doing. I think we’ve exceeded a little bit of expectation and long may that continue.
“We are still largely under the radar as a side two points off the play-offs so it’s up to us to maintain that level of performance.”
The Grecians have had a remarkable turnaround since sitting rock bottom in mid-November, winning 10 and losing just one of their last 14 games.
That super form has seen City climb to sixth in League Two and Sarll has massive respect for the club, not least long-serving boss Paul Tisdale.
Sarll continued: “Exeter have one of the most fantastic managers. Not just for what he has done in League Two – but for what he has done in a decade of management – in the country because no-one does it.
“I have massive respect for the man and for what his teams do, the way they play and how his personality has translated into his team.
“He’s come through some tough periods this year which only a decade in management can prepare you for.
“This is a tough game, whether they’re fourth bottom or fourth top, but it’s going to be an enjoyable game.”
Star striker Matt Godden, who has netted eight goals in his previous seven games, limped off with a tight hamstring during Stevenage’s 2-1 win over Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night and Sarll is unsure whether he will be fit to start at St James’ Park.
He said: “Matt’s touch and go.
“He’s spent all week in the treatment room.
“We’ll be nursing him as best we can.
“He’s now the fourth top scorer in League Two and have we had that in the past five or six years? I don’t think so.
“We’ll do everything we can to patch Matt up because he’s in such a good vein of form.
“I think he’s 60-40 per cent against playing tomorrow.”
One man who will definitely not get any minutes at Exeter is defender Jack King.
Sarll said: “Jack’s still painful in his hamstring so unfortunately Jack won’t be available.
“Charlie [Lee] is also unavailable through suspension so two big players [we’ll be without] there but two doors for other players to walk through and we’ll see if they can take their opportunity.”