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Match Previews

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Stevenage

We take a closer look at tonight's visitors

26 September 2017

The games are coming thick and fast in Sky Bet League Two as the Blues prepare to welcome Stevenage in a midweek clash.

Fresh off the back of a thumping win at Crewe, Keith Curle’s side will be hoping to make it back-to-back victories when the Boro visit Cumbria.

But Stevenage themselves will be keen to seal another three points after they ground out a victory over Morecambe on Saturday, so it’s sure to be an intriguing contest.

We put Stevenage under the spotlight ahead of their visit to Brunton Park:

Returning to Form

Saturday’s win over the Shrimps was Stevenage’s first win in four outings and was a timely boost to Darren Sarll’s side after their poor form threatened to ruin a fairly positive start to the new season.

Indeed, Stevenage were unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two until 9 September when they were defeated by newly-promoted Lincoln, and picked up three wins and two draws from their opening five fixtures.

That, however, was followed by two defeats and a draw which had seen the Boro start to slide down the table.

Yet that victory over Morecambe could well act as a catalyst for Sarll’s men who will be keen to return to their early season form.

Debut Delight

The big storyline from Stevenage’s victory over Morecambe was that of Kyle Wootton - the deadline day loan signing from Scunthorpe coming off the bench to net the winner on his debut.

Wootton, a 6”2 striker, found the back of the net only a minute after entering the fray and he’ll be hoping that was enough to earn him a start at Brunton Park.

His fellow frontman will have something to say about that, however, with Matty Godden also in fine form this season - scoring again at the weekend.

Sarll may, therefore, have selection dilemmas up top with summer addition Danny Newton also performing well when leading the line.

What Does History Tell Us?

The two sides only met for the first time in 2005 but have since gone on to play each other on 15 occasions.

And it’s United who have the better record, having claimed eight victories as opposed to the four of Stevenage.

Indeed the Cumbrians are unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Boro, with Stevenage’s last victory over United coming back in April 2015.

Only One Victory at Brunton Park

You have to go back to the very first meeting between the two sides - on 22 February 2005 - to find the last time Stevenage won at Brunton Park.

Since then the Blues have hosted Boro on six occasions and haven’t lost, claiming four victories in the process.

Curle will be keen to see his side continue that unbeaten record courtesy of another victory this season.

Watch highlights from last season's 2-1 away victory here:

Watch highlights from last season's 1-1 home draw here:

Ones to Watch

+ Fraser Franks - A promising youngster when he joined the club, Franks has since developed into a key member of the Stevenage backline. The centre back started his career at Brentford before dropping into non-league, representing the likes of Hayes & Yeading and Welling before returning to the Football League with Luton in 2014. He spent just one season at Kenilworth Road before moving to Stevenage where he quickly became a fans’ favourite with some strong and effective displays at the back.

+ Tom Pett - Pett was plucked from obscurity by Stevenage and has proved an excellent addition having now made over 100 league appearances for the club since joining in 2014. A tricky forward who is comfortable playing in midfield, Pett chips in with goals and assists aplenty and is a handful for any defender. United will need to watch him carefully.

+ Danny Newton - Another non-league star to join Stevenage, Newton caught the eye as part of Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy over the summer. His impressive performances at the academy, coupled with his return of 38 goals for Tamworth last season, prompted Sarll to take a punt on him. And he hasn’t disappointed, with the striker netting five goals already this season.


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