Stevenage boss Graham Westley knows his side are in for a big battle against Mansfield Town

Matt Rhead celebrates against Wycombe
Matt Rhead celebrates against Wycombe

Stevenage boss Graham Westley says his side will have to go toe to toe with Mansfield Town if they are to claim all three points.

Westley also believes 15th-placed Stevenage will take a big step towards throwing Stags off their game plan if they can stop Matt Rhead from playing.

Said Westley: “We know exactly what we will get from Mansfield. We played them in pre-season last year and it was probably the most physical match we had all year.

“Mansfield are a physical team, they will be physical and will give no quarter. They will be direct and bang the ball up to Matt Rhead.

“They expect him to be very aggressive and to pick up the second ball. Credit to them for doing what they do, they got out of the Conference in this way and are progressing.

“We are not a team to grumble about how they play. We know that to win any football game you have to match the physical play of the opposition and battle.

“We will look to win the first ball and play our football on the back of that. We will be aggressive and ready for the contest.”

Relegated Stevenage, who are without a win in two, struggled to adjust to life back in League Two and shipped 11 goals in their opening six games.

But Westley’s men have turned their leaky defence around in recent weeks to give them a platform for prgoress.

“We conceded 11 goals in our first six games, that is not what my sides do,” added Westley.

“We have now conceded two in our last three games and sometimes it is about taking small steps as you progress.

“Two clean sheets in three says a lot about the character of the young players.

“We have not got a solid base. Add to that our experienced players coming back from injury and that bit of extra quality and we will be progressing in a good direction.”

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