Stevenage v Pompey: The Insider’s view

Former Stevenage boss Teddy Sheringham
Former Stevenage boss Teddy Sheringham
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Stevenage were defeated in the League Two play-offs by Southend United last season.

These days they are 20th in the table, having opted to go in a different direction from the Graham Westley era.

Teddy Sheringham was appointed in the summer and some 13 players from the Westley regime departed the Lamex Stadium, but it didn’t work out.

Boro would have taken a mid-table finish during this transitional year. I certainly don’t think they expected to be so far down the table at present.

Sheringham had a good patch in November, winning three of their five matches, including an impressive FA Cup victory over Gillingham.

Then a run of eight games without a win, losing five of them, saw the ex-England international depart on deadline day.

Now Darren Sarll has stepped up from the Academy to be caretaker boss, somebody who loves the club and is doing his best to turn it around.

Presently, Stevenage are eight points clear of the relegation zone. The worry is the tough games coming up. The next four fixtures are against Pompey, Wycombe, Northampton and Oxford.

Heading into Saturday’s match, they have lost the previous two games and this is going to be a very interesting period.

Sheringham left at a time when the fans were getting disgruntled with what was going on, sometimes the performances were there but not the results. They were losing a lot of games.

There was a feeling among supporters that he didn’t really have the influence or impact he could have done at the club.

Sheringham brought in a fair few players but didn’t have many decisive signings. The likes of Mark Hughes and Jamie McCoombe – Sheringham recruits – have already left the club.

It was disappointing. This was the first job for a big name, but he struggled to show nous in the transfer market and his tactics were regularly criticised.

Often after games he didn’t say much to the waiting press, it was like he was sometimes sulking.

In contrast, Sarll talks for England!

Of the players, midfielder Tom Pett has done well, while Byron Harrison came on loan from Chesterfield a few weeks ago and scored twice on his debut.

Luke Wilkinson has also been a good addition, impressing in the centre of defence.

As for Sarll, he is the caretaker indefinitely. Probably until the end of the season and then it will be assessed in the summer.