Graham Westley says he is delighted to be back at Stevenage Football Club following four and a half years away since his last spell managing the team…
Westley officially returns next Monday ahead of Boro’s home Boxing Day match against Forest Green Rovers but has already been at Bragbury End to lay down his message with the players and coaching staff.
“It is great to be back and I feel really ready. It is just a question of at this stage, explaining to the lads my view on what happened,” Westley said.
“The club started the season with four points from its first 10 games and there was a chance of manager in that situation and the players, Mark and the management team have recovered really well.
“They have got 12 points from their next 10 games, they have steadied the ship, brought a lot of long-term injuries back into that fold and inevitably there is a lack of match fitness. A lack of match fitness tends to mean that a club won’t have as much cut and thrust going forward and you have seen that in the goalscoring.
“The hardest part of football is to get the ball in the opposition net and when you haven’t got match legs, it is very difficult to get enough thrust going forward to score the goals.
“What I know is that there is enough capability in the squad to get the fitness and then use the capability to drive out the results.
“It is a great situation to be walking into really – to some degree the hard work has been done, I just have to put the icing on the cake.”
Westley believes that the team he inherits has enough leadership and footballing qualities to quickly move away from trouble towards the foot of the Sky Bet League Two table.
“Looking at this squad, lads like Digby, Cuthbert, Nugent, Farman behind him – you aren’t going to get too many platforms like that at his level.
“In front of that you have got experience that wasn’t in the side, youth and quality that was in the side and even if you go to the top end of the pitch, players like Kurtis finished last season with 7 goals in 10 games, a 10 game run that saw the club win 21 points.
“You can virtually put that same team that put 21 points in 10 on the pitch now. Ok, Joe Martin and Ilias Chair have moved on but Chris Stokes has come in to replace Joe Martin, Dean Parrett is back to do the Ilias Chair role and we didn’t have the likes of Ben Kennedy fit and firing at that stage either.
“There are plenty of players at the football club to add to the players I have just mentioned to create a team that can go and win games consistently at this level.”
Having already assessed the side and the work done this season, Westley says that the group are in a good place to kick-on following the caretaker management of Mark Sampson and Alex Revell.
“The job we have got is to build on the great work that has been done. The team is in a really good spirit. The squad is in a really good spirit. It is a positive camp, they are all united. The lads like the coaching staff, the coaching staff like the lads.
“I have to just got to get a bit of demand on them now. Make sure that we get that extra bit of fitness in, make sure that we keep building the organisation, the hunger and we should be able to turn these draws into wins and push ourselves upwards.
“Anyone coming to Stevenage has always known you don’t get given Christmas presents at any time of the year, not even at Christmas and that will be the message. It is about getting ourselves back to that situation where we give nothing away and we are prepared to go and earn the three points.
“It has always been a ground where the fans get behind that agenda when the team buys into it and it can be a really rough ground for opposition sides to come to.”