Stevenage v Pompey: the opposition view

Stevenage boss Barren Sarll
Stevenage boss Barren Sarll
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Apart from a midweek loss against Blackpool, things are going very nicely at the moment.

That 1-0 Bloomfield Road loss ended a nine-match unbeaten run, which consisted of eight victories.

Boro’s surge took Darren Sarll’s side into fourth as he continues an excellent first season as permanent manager.

Stevenage also completed a Sky Bet double, with Sarll winning February’s manager of the month – and Matt Godden claiming the player of the month prize.

Now they must pick themselves up from that setback for the visit of third-placed Pompey.

Not so long ago Sarll was the head of the club’s academy. He then got promoted onto the first-team’s coaching staff when Teddy Sheringham was manager.

When Sheringham was sacked in February 2016, Sarll was made caretaker until the season’s end – and earned the job on a permanent basis in the summer.

It’s great for Sarll, who is fairly local to Stevenage and has been in the right place at the right time to be handed an opportunity.

He has impressed everyone with a huge hunger, desire and work ethic. Some senior players have said they’ve never seen a manager put in the hours he does.

His assistant is Glenn Roeder, who has been an experienced head alongside the young manager and they bounce off each other brilliantly.

Sarll brought in Godden from Ebbsfleet in the summer and he has been a roaring success, bagging 20 goals so far.

The striker does have a bit of pedigree, having come through the ranks at Scunthorpe, and made 21 appearances there before dropping into non-league.

The manager was impressed by Godden’s attitude, drive and desire – and he endeared himself to the fans by bagging a last-minute winner in the derby game with Luton!

It was also the team’s first win of the league campaign, while Godden’s maiden Football League goal.

The 25-year-old has got better and better and, since the turn of the year, has scored 12 times.

He’s a player who is a constant threat, works, chases lost causes and able to sniff out a chance.

Meanwhile, Stevenage are looking at the play-offs, although if you ask the manager he remains focused on winning the next game. He is very grounded.

Ultimately, they would love to get into the top three, but the play-offs is a good option and a realistic one for Sarll’s side as they look to pick up where they left off.