'You don't get an easy battle against Wycombe', says Stevenage boss
PUBLISHED: 12:31 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:39 10 February 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2016
Darren Sarll is expecting a ‘very tough test’ when Wycombe Wanderers visit Stevenage on Saturday.
Boro are looking for a third successive win this weekend but their guests to the Lamex are on a fine run of form which has propelled them into the League Two play-offs.
The last time these two sides met, in September, Wycombe won 1-0. Gareth Ainsworth’s side have lost just once in their last 10 league games but were knocked out at the semi-final stage of the EFL Trophy in the week by Coventry City.
Sarll watched that match and says Wycombe have plenty of footballers capable of making Saturday a tough day at the office for his side.
“[The Coventry game] was a really good game. I thought it was a tale of two centre forwards,” Sarll said.
“Stuart Beavon, first half, was terrific for Coventry and [Adebayo] Akinfenwa was terrific second-half for Wycombe.
“What you know about Wycombe is that they will come and give their absolute best. You don’t get an easy battle.
“Mix that with some very good footballers. Sam Saunders is a fantastic technician. Myles Weston has got so many good qualities to his play. Paul Hayes has been a top player at Championship, League One and League two for years.
“Akinfenwa is a good footballer. Don’t think he’s a big lump because he’s a good player the lad.
“It’s a good side. Sixth in the league, and the league never lies. It’ll be a very tough test for us.”
Ainsworth is well into his fifth year of management at the club and while Sarll says the Wycombe boss is someone for ‘young managers to look up to’ he wants his Stevenage side to replicate what they’ve been doing in recent weeks in order to lift themselves closer to the play-offs.
“Gareth has done a terrific job, and I’ve enormous respect for what he’s done there and the way that he goes about his work,” Sarll said.
“[It’s] a good one for us and a different type [of opponent]. We’ve had Grimsby and Crawley and they were quite different in styles and strategies. Wycombe are different again.
“I think it’s about consistency for us. We’ve always known that. It’s whether we can replicate the performances of the last fortnight or so and put that into play at 3pm on Saturday. If we do that we will be fine.
“It’s important that we come out of the tunnel in the same mental and psychological place we’ve come out of the tunnel in the last couple of games. I think we’ve been great the last couple of games.”
Sarll added: “Any manager who sits in front of you will say that they want that precious time that no-one really gets.
“Gareth’s had a good spell there and has had four very good years with the club. What he’s done there and how he’s used the club in terms of resources, he’s done terrifically well.
“Him, [Paul] Tisdale [Exeter City], people like that are the type of manager young managers like me look up to.
“You look at the resilience and perseverance for such a long time. You can only look at them and admire them for what they’ve achieved.”