Boro Player spoke to manager Graham Westley on Thursday as he prepares his side for the home game with Yeovil Town on Saturday, and he described the game as a chance to lay down a marker for next season and to begin the process of returning the Lamex Stadium to the fortress it once was.
Still settling into life as Stevenage boss again, every day is giving Westley the chance to assess his squad and learn new things and talking at Bragbury End, the manager revealed that he has been very pleased thus far.
“The lads have impressed me in the two games that we have had so far; we’ve had two clean sheets, which is always a measure of the work ethic, and the care and desire in the team. They’ve worked very, very hard, they’ve wanted to go and press opponents and make it difficult for opponents to play and they’ve also shown a lot of good quality with the ball. There have been some great passages of play, there are some good technical players at the club and they pass the ball and move the ball and attack sides well. All in all it has been a positive start and hopefully it will only get better.”
Something that has eluded Stevenage this season is a real run of form at home, in contrast the fortress Broadhall Way was something that was well and truly a part of the success that Graham had in his previous reign, and that is one aspect of life as a Stevenage supporter that he now wants to see return.
“I don’t know how things have been done; I get the sense that there was a counter-attacking philosophy and I think Stevenage had grown used to playing on the front foot and attacking sides, home and away, but particularly at home where the crowd is buoyant, where they get up and make it a really difficult place to come to.
“The club had a way of playing, we worked hard to build the Lamex into a fortress and it was a very difficult place to come to. Getting back to that is one of the jobs that I have got to do; it’s a great home venue, a place you can get rocking and a place you can win football matches at so we want to make sure that people enjoy coming to the home stadium and watching the team win.”
Up next is Yeovil Town, a side who have enjoyed a successful second half of the season and who are knocking on the door for what would be a shock promotion to many.
Speaking about his next test, Westley replied: “I made the point to the lads at the beginning of the week; I’ve been involved – we all have at this football club – in promotions and I know that there comes that point when you know you’ve got a chance and everyone steals themselves that little bit more, the focus develops. We know that they’re going to come here at the weekend playing for a possible promotion; they’re going to come here very focused on doing the job. Beating sides like that is never easy, of course the pressure can sometimes get in their way, it can sometimes stop them, but we’re not relying on the pressure getting to them. We’re relying on our pressure getting to them, we’re relying on the pressure that we put them under and the intensity with which we play – we’re relying on that to win the three points at the weekend.”
He continued, “We know that if we don’t win our last three games then we won’t finish in the top half and I don’t think anybody at this football club wants to be involved in a bottom half finish.”
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