MATTHEW Lowton last night insisted he is relishing the prospect of silencing Stevenage’s footballing sledgers.
The Sheffield United defender is bracing himself for a brutal physical and psychological battle after manager Danny Wilson briefed his players on the challenges they will face against opponents famed for their gamesmanship at Broadhall Way today.
But Lowton warned Graham Westley’s side the visitors are well-equipped to hold their own if verbal warfare breaks out in Hertfordshire.
“I love it if opponents start chipping away at me,” he told The Star. “In fact it drives me on because I’m even more determined to beat them.
“If people get lippy then it doesn’t bother me at all. I try not to say anything back because I prefer to concentrate on my own game.
“But that’s not to say I don’t get something out of it because I do.”
Westley, who has steered Stevenage from the Conference to League One in just two years, yesterday admitted he wants this afternoon’s clash to be “anything but an even game”.
But Lowton added: “We’ve got lads here who are more than capable of winning those types of challenges.
“Cressy (Richard Cresswell) never shirks a tackle or a slanging match. He’s more than happy to dole out a few choice words back.
“I definitely think this one is going to be a test of character as much as anything else.”
United are fourth in the table despite twice throwing away the lead during the closing stages of their 4-4 draw with Exeter City seven days ago.
Wilson has refused to reveal if teenage goalkeeper George Long will continue between the posts against Stevenage or whether Steve Simonsen
will be recalled after being dropped last month.
“George didn’t train for the first part of the week because he picked up a little bit of a shoulder injury,” said Wilson. “But he’s okay now.
“Simmo obviously wasn’t happy about not being in the team but he’s reacted in exactly the right manner during training and has been a model professional.
“He’s got on with his job, worked well with George and performed well in training - exactly the same as he has always done, which is good to see.”
Westley provided United with a glimpse of the tactics he is set to employ by insisting the Blades hold little fear for a team which has already claimed the scalps of third-placed Sheffield Wednesday and League One leaders Charlton Athletic this term.
are a big club with big resources,” he said. “But they’re not doing as well as Charlton or Wednesday are they?
“We got promoted last season and we’re learning all the time at this level, as I had expected.
“Have we improved more than the other teams (Bury, Chesterfield and Wycombe) who got promoted? The evidence would suggest we have.”
Meanwhile, United travel to Tranmere Rovers in the FA Youth Cup first round on Monday (kick-off 7pm).