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HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Stevenage

We take a closer look at this weekend's opponents

19 January 2018

After exiting the FA Cup on Tuesday evening, focus switches back to Sky Bet League Two for the Cumbrians as they travel to Stevenage.

The Blues lost out to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in the midweek replay, but will be keen to bounce back at the first attempt as they make the journey to the Lamex Stadium.

Stevenage were also defeated by Championship opposition in the week, losing out to Reading, and will be looking to claim a victory that would see them draw level on points with Keith Curle’s side.

We take a closer look at the Boro ahead of our trip to Stevenage:

Mixed Form of Late

Currently sat in 15th place in Sky Bet League Two – two places and three points behind the Blues – Stevenage have struggled to nail down a solid run of form this campaign.

Having drawn and won their last two league outings, there are positives for the Hertfordshire outfit to take – including comprehensive wins over Cheltenham (4-1) and Chesterfield (5-1) in recent weeks.

But having lost three of their last six in all competitions, Darren Sarll will know that his side need to find some consistency if they want to move up the table and increase the gap from the relegation zone.

Home Comforts

You have to go back to October to find the last time Stevenage were beaten on home soil, as they lost out to Forest Green.

Since then, the Boro have gone nine games unbeaten on their own patch in all competitions – a run they will be keen to continue this weekend.

That unbeaten spell includes tricky games against Notts County, Coventry, Swindon and Reading and will give Sarll’s side plenty of confidence heading into Saturday’s game.

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 16 occasions.

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

Indeed the Cumbrians have lost just one of their last five meetings with the Boro, the 2-0 reverse earlier this season, with the Blues having claimed a 2-1 victory in this fixture last season thanks to goals from Jason Kennedy and Danny Grainger.

The highlights from last season's away victory at Stevenage are here:

Good Record On The Road

United have a fairly strong record at the Lamex Stadium, having lost just one of their last five visits there.

That sole defeat came back in April 2015, with the Blues having picked up some memorable wins in Hertfordshire in recent years.

Tom Miller netted a late winner at Stevenage back in October 2015, while goals from Lee Miller, Matty Robson and David Amoo helped wrap up a 3-1 win in September 2013.

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, then 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. He scored a fantastic late equaliser against Morecambe last weekend, and has cer-tainly shown his eye for goal in the past.

+ 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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