Blades set for a bruiser at Stevenage

Uncompromising: Graham Westley has delivered successive promotions since taking charge at Stevenage for the second time

Uncompromising: Graham Westley has delivered successive promotions since taking charge at Stevenage for the second time

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SOME managers campaign in poetry and govern in prose.

Stevenage’s Graham Westley has no time for such pleasantries or conventions.

The 43-year-old, whose abrasive manner can delight and dismay in equal measure, prefers to talk as his team play. Short, sharp and straight to the point.

Mark Roberts, Stevenage’s captain, is clearly cut from the same cloth.

“As long as we win the game we won’t be bothered how it comes,” he said. “Sheffield United have obviously got some talented players but they’ve also got some youth and we’re learning all the time at this level.”

Stevenage’s uncompromising style means Sheffield United, who make their first ever visit to Broadhall Way tomorrow, know exactly what type of challenge awaits inside their opponents’ compact stadium.

Gary Megson, whose Sheffield Wednesday team were beaten there earlier this season, admitted it had been “Men against boys,” as the visitors slipped to a 5-1 defeat.

A startling revelation given the fact that United’s arch-rivals from Hillsborough are also known for their robust approach. Westley, though, is a complex character full of contradictions. Often monotone with the region’s press, he nevertheless proved an eloquent newspaper columnist and boasts an MA in Company Direction. Westley also combines his footballing duties with a directorship at the Aimita Corporation; a company offering services ranging from contract cleaning to security.

“When results weren’t going well we had to keep a level head, be honest and learn from our mistakes,” he said.

Westley has delivered successive promotions since taking charge of Stevenage for a second time in 2008. Having topped the Conference rankings two seasons ago, they subsequently beat Torquay in the League Two play-off final last term.

The momentum gathered en-route to Old Trafford means Stevenage, who boast a 54 per cent win ratio under Westley’s stewardship, entertain Danny Wilson’s side comfortably positioned in mid-table.

Fourth-placed United travel south eight points behind League One leaders Charlton Athletic.

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