Boro Player spoke to manager Gary Smith today ahead of the first competitive game of the season against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday evening, and he couldn’t believe the speed in which the campaign has come round.
“It’s amazing how quickly it comes round again, it seems like the off-season just runs straight into the new season and of course there has been an awful lot of work behind the scenes this year trying to bring in new bodies. We’ve been trying to find the right combination on the field to make sure the shape of the side and the direction is the right one. Now we’re back to the grindstone and looking forward to it.”
During Boro’s pre-season friendlies we have seen a mix of players that have since moved on, new faces and even the odd splash of youth in preparation for the real thing. All of those experiences are going to be important when it kicks off in the eyes of the manager.
“Pre-season has unfolded very well for us; I think the guys are in a good mental and physical place. Whilst the style and shape of the group has changed slightly the guys have taken an awful lot on board and it’s looking very encouraging at this point.
“I don’t see any reason why mentally we wouldn’t be thinking that we can progress through this round and look forward to hopefully a good tie but we have a tough game in front of us. We’ve seen at the weekend that some of the sides that you might have expected to have progressed haven’t and it means that some of the teams playing midweek have said ‘listen, if you don’t fully focus on what you’ve got in front of you tonight you could have a bit of a problem.’”
The amount of changes to the Stevenage squad have been evident for all to see this summer but Smith doesn’t feel that new faces will always lead to a negative start to the season. He said “It’s not easy but they’ve worked hard this pre-season. We’ve been back 6 weeks and it’ll be 7 by the time the first league game comes round.
“We’ve wanted to take this as seriously as we possibly can. This is our first competitive game that we expect to do well in and the players are prepared for that. The pre-season games have built up to this and the form within those games has progressively improved, we’re looking towards this game as being a good and confident start that we can use as a catalyst for the new season.”
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