Stevenage manager Graham Westley was in an ebullient mood on Monday morning as he reflected on the weekend’s football.
Following Saturday’s draw with Carlisle, GW took time on Sunday to visit Sixfields to watch Coventry come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Port Vale. He returned to give us his predictions for the bottom half of the table, including his belief that the four clubs relegated from League 1 this season will come from the current bottom 10 sides. He did admit though that two of those 10 should have too much to go down.
He told us, "I can’t see Bristol or Coventry falling short if I’m honest. Both have enough good players and big enough squads to win enough points, big fanbases to help them along and both have managers who will scrap it out. Bristol’s form indicates that they are rising and Coventry’s season is only being blighted by their points deduction. Of course, funny things can happen but I think they will both steer well clear.
“It comes down to form in the next 10 games, but probably the next six games. I think that one or two of us will have escaped within six games and then it will be a six horse race, with just two winners. Obviously it is great to have signed four players and to have gone unbeaten in six whilst those lads settle in. We wanted to top the form table by now, but at least we are now matching the likes of Preston and Rotherham for results over six games, which is a good step to have taken.
"We had to find Play Off form to start marching forward. Now we need to build on that, which is what we are doing."
The recent improvement in form has been helped by a number of victories at The Lamex Stadium and Graham is pleased to have a run of home games coming up after a number of long trips in recent weeks.
"To have four of the next six at home is a welcome bonus after that run of eight out of 13 games away from home when our squad was tested and we really struggled for results. Our recent home wins over Swindon, Gillingham, Crewe and Tranmere have been important in us bouncing back from being nine points adrift and we all know just how well we can play at home.
"It is crazy, but if Walsall stay in their current form for six games and we improve marginally on ours, we can be above them and they are 8th!"
Reflecting on Saturday’s game Graham explained why he was delighted with a point at Carlisle, despite his well known belief in playing for three points and not settling for draws.
‘Having played Saturday-Tuesday non-stop since mid-February, it was vital on Saturday that we didn’t lose,” he said. “There was a risk to our last few results because a lot of lads have played throughout the period. But we held up strong and remain unbeaten in six. Psychologically, that was a massive thing to achieve. Now the confidence has a week to flow in whilst the bodies get ready to fire again. I would have hated to see Carlisle climb and our lads suffer a free week without having won a point and without having stayed unbeaten.
Finally, on the remaining seven weeks of the campaign he told us, “I am absolutely loving this challenge and I can feel the lads are relishing it too. This has been an incredibly difficult season. But we have gritted our teeth, worked our socks off and we are producing a team now that is showing the attributes of a top six team.
"Physically, mentally, technically, tactically, as a team, and as professionals; our lads are growing, improving and are so determined to get over the line sooner, not later. We aren’t going to stop. We are just building towards our best form of the season and we are now willing to win every game we play”.
With such a good game and atmosphere in prospect for this Saturday's game, make sure you book your tickets now to benefit from cheaper prices. This is a Category A fixture, meaning tickets bought 'in advance' range from FREE to £18 in the terraces and from £8 to £22 in the seats. Click here
for more information.