Step into the dark

Stevenage Borough's Manager Graham Westley
Stevenage Borough's Manager Graham Westley
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IF THE sight of their fiercest rivals being bludgeoned into submission was not enough, then Danny Wilson’s no-holds-barred briefing left Sheffield United under no illusion about the challenge which awaits at Broadhall Way today.

Stevenage, the South Yorkshire club’s latest opponents in the battle for League One supremacy, revel in their reputation for dark arts and gamesmanship.

But despite insisting he is “more bothered about what we do” than the tactics set to be employed by Graham Westley’s side, United’s manager still elected to warn his players about what awaits when they lock horns with a team dubbed by some observers as ‘The New Wimbledon.’

“The gaffer has told us what Stevenage are like,” United full-back Matthew Lowton said. “We know exactly what to expect.

“We know they’re going to look to get behind us, be happy to put in a few fouls and employ a very different style to how we play. But equally we know what they don’t like and so that’s what we’ll be looking to exploit.”

Stevenage stunned League One by beating Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 nearly two months ago.

Wilson’s theory that clubs raise themselves against the likes of United and Gary Megson’s men appears to be borne out by the fact they lost their next five games. However, Stevenage are now unbeaten in four after stopping the rot with a narrow win over leaders Charlton Athletic.

“Everyone saw the Wednesday result and probably thought it was a bit of a freak,” Lowton said. “But it also showed us what Stevenage are capable of.

“They’ve got a very different style to ours but it can also be very effective so why not?

“We’ve got to conquer their game and be ready to play ours, keep calm and not get dragged into anything stupid.”

Wilson’s final message before travelling to Hertfordshire yesterday was a reminder about the need for United to adhere to their passing

principles against Westley’s charges.

Lowton, who could be joined in the squad by Lee Williamson after the midfielder returned to training following a leg injury, added a caveat of his own.

Having seen United twice throw away the lead during

the closing stages of last weekend’s 4-4 draw with Exeter, he said: “We watched the video of that one and a lot of what happened came from a slow start.

“We just didn’t get going and I don’t think we

turned Exeter once during the opening few minutes or so. I bet they couldn’t believe their luck and we definitely don’t want to be making exactly the same mistakes again.”

Meanwhile, members of United’s 1991 derby-winning team, are set to attend an anniversary event at Bramall Lane on November 17.

Tickets priced £25 per head or £199.10 for a table of 10 are available by telephoning 0871 995 1889.