Stevenage F.C meeting the opposition.
The season is now drawing to an end and as Tranmere have three games remaining, their sights and expectations have been set on a final Play-off spot.
In order to get in the top seven, Micky Mellon’s side will need to have a good return from their final three games. They have two away from home where they have been poor this campaign and the first of the three fixtures sees them come up against Steve Evans’ Stevenage.
Boro sit 22nd in the League Two table and as they currently sit one place above the drop zone, where it seems Oldham Athletic will take 23rd, their fans seem relatively excited about the future with Evans in the dugout. To find more out about Stevenage, I spoke to supporter Reece Donnelly.
Stevenage are placed 22nd with a few games left of their 2021-22 campaign, with four points and a game in hand over Oldham who occupy the final relegation spot following Scunthorpe’s relegation. How would you assess Boro’s season?
A rough one! But it appears there is some light at the end of the tunnel now. It’s not impossible that we go down, but it feels like Evans has stabilised the ship enough and got us going enough to keep us up. We went into this season with such hope so to be in this situation is disappointing but with hard work ahead we just have to hope A. we do enough to stay up and B. Steve Evans can dramatically change the culture at the club.
Steve Evans is gaffer following his appointment in mid-March and has won two of his five games so far. What are your current thoughts on him and were you pleased with his appointment? The 59-year-old has two Football League promotions on his managerial CV.
Over the moon, and it feels a bit of a coup to be quite frank. If we got him when we attempted in November, we would probably be a lot safer than we are now. I think he is experienced, very much what you see is what you get with him and there is zero doubt he gets his teams working for him. So definitely bought certain expectations which drags everyone out of the pit it feels like we have been in the last few years.
Phil Wallace is the owner of Stevenage. What are your thoughts on him and are there any current plans for the club that have you excited for the future?
Things need to change from how it has on the football side but off the pitch things couldn’t look more positive really. Our stadium is complete, our training ground is off the charts for the level and by all intents and purposes it now looks like we have a competitive budget. Just about getting decisions on the football side right which has never been PW’s strong suit. Rumours this year suggest a sale might be being considered.
Who would you say your side’s key players are?
Luke Norris when fit is horrible for any league two defence. Relentless, a good finisher and his hold up play is a huge asset to the side. Scott Cuthbert has been great under Evans and will be crucial in this battle, he knows the circuit and as captain he has a huge part to play. As everyone also knows if you can play to Elliot List’s strengths, then he is unstoppable.
How do you see the upcoming ninety minutes panning out? What is your score prediction?
I think both sides are desperate for the points, and it’ll be a nervy game, a physical game and not one for the football purists. If Tranmere turn up, it will be hard to cope with, but I feel Evans will let Tranmere have the ball and set up to stifle and then work off that. I’m not sure how comfortable Tranmere will be with that. I fancy a 1-1 which does more for you than us I feel
What is Evans’ preferred playing style and who do you believe will be in his starting eleven on Saturday afternoon?
Pym, Luther, Cuthbert, Vancooten, Coker, Bostwick, Read, Taylor, Reid, Norris, List
As I said above, we will have attacking intent with the ball but I don’t think we go into the game expecting or trying for lots of the ball. We will try to force chances from Norris’s hold up and Lists runs off the defender. Expect organised set pieces. Do not expect a proper footballing game/
What are your thoughts on Tranmere this season? They occupy the final play-off spot, there seems to be a battle with Mansfield going for seventh and come into the weekend on the back of a 2-0 home victory against Exeter City.
Tranmere is a weird one this year. Feels like there’s no real consistency level there and despite their position feels a bit like they are underachieving. However, Mellon is an excellent manager and there are some great players for the level there. What Tranmere always have at this level is the ability to grind results and that’s a real asset.
What moments/goals/experiences stand out for you in previous Tranmere v Stevenage games?
Very little! Our great victory against you of course was when no fans was in the ground! That was a great moment over you really. It’s usually been hell against you. I remember Adebayo coming on for his debut, getting our third sending off of that match, us calling him a donkey and now he’s smashing it in the championship!
Finally, touching on the January transfer window and this summer’s recruitment, how influential do you believe the club’s winter signings have been and what business would you like to see be completed in the upcoming months?
January business has been below average at best. The Bostwick signing (despite drawbacks) and the Pym signings are the only ones you can walk away saying good enough business. Big change no matter what happens you feel in the summer at the club.
The Lamex stadium hosts this weekend’s encounter between Stevenage and Tranmere. Rovers have drawn on their last three occasions here, dating back to April 2015.