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Scouting Report: Stevenage (FA Cup)

As Reading face Stevenage in the FA Cup. Jack Simpson takes a detailed look at the ‘Boro.

Stevenage v Notts County - Sky Bet League Two - Lamex Stadium Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images

A brief history

Stevenage Football Club were founded in 1976 after predecessors Stevenage Athletic went bankrupt, making them one of the youngest professional teams in England. In the subsequent years, Stevenage climbed up the divisions before almost getting into league football.

‘Boro won the then Conference National (today’s National League) in the 1993/94 season, but were denied promotion due to insufficient ground facilities. However, after another 15 years in the fifth tier, Stevenage finally broke into League Two after again winning the Conference title in 2009/10. On doing this, the word “Borough” was dropped from its title.

This promotion was followed up by another one when Stevenage won the 2011 League Two play-off final, having beaten Torquay 1-0 at Old Trafford. However, after three seasons in League One, the club were relegated back to the fourth tier of English football.

Soccer - npower Football League Two - Play Off - Final - Stevenage v Torquay United - Old Trafford Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

Interestingly, Stevenage have the honour of being the first side to win a competitive final at the new Wembley, having won the FA Trophy in 2007. The ‘Boro would win the trophy again in 2009.

The manager

Stevenage’s current boss is Darren Sarll, the 34 year-old has been the gaffer at the Lamex Stadium since being appointed interim coach in February 2016 and then being appointed the permanent manager in May 2016. This is his first managerial job, having previously been of charge of Stevenage’s academy - he also had similar roles at Rotherham and Brentford.

Lincoln City v Stevenage  - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Since taking over Sarll has brought stability to the club following the sacking of Teddy Sheringham in 2016, and led Stevenage to a respectable 18th place in his first few months in charge.

In his first full season in charge of Stevenage in the 2016/17 season, Sarll lead the team to an incredible 10th place in the League Two table, which was only three points off the play-off spots.

However, this season Stevenage have been brought back down to earth and find themselves in 15th place with 33 points from their 26 league games.

Top goal-scorers

Danny Newton and Matt Godden have each scored nine goals in all competitions this season.

In fact, Godden’s four goals in this season’s FA Cup puts him in second place in the competition. The top scorer in the FA Cup by comparison is Jayden Stockley of Exeter who has five goals.

Current longest serving player

The current longest serving player for Stevenage is goalkeeper Chris Day. Day, who was once on the books of Tottenham, has been at the club since August 2008 when he completed a transfer from Millwall.

He has gone to make 260 apperances and was part of the side that won the FA trophy in 2009 and gained promotion to Leagues Two and One.

Stevenage v Tottenham XI - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Terence Vancooten

Terence Vancooten completed a switch to Stevenage on a free transfer from Reading last summer, having failed to make a senior appearance for the Royals. He also never really made an impact for the Reading Under 23’s having made just three appearances in the Premier League 2 last season.

So far this season, Vancooten has made 12 appearances for Stevenage and has two assists to his name. Like many young players who have left Reading over the years, Vancooten will see this game as a opportunity to prove a point to his former employers.

Liverpool v Reading: U18 Premier League Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

What team could Stevenage play?

Stevenage could make an unchanged line-up following their convincing 4-1 win over Cheltenham last time out. Here’s the team from that match (4-4-2):

Joe Fryer (GK); Ronnie Henry (C), Fraser Franks, Jack King, Joe Martin; Tom Pett, Jonathan Smith, Mark McKee, Ben Kennedy; Danny Lowton, Matt Godden

However, Darren Sarll could stick with the same Xl that destroyed S***don 5-2 in the last round of the FA Cup. Here’s how Stevenage lined up for that game (4-4-2):

Joe Fryer (GK); Ronnie Henry (C), Jack King, Luke Wilkinson, Joe Martin; Chris Whelpdale, Jonathan Smith, Mark McKee, Tom Pett; Danny Lowton, Alex Samuel

The link to the match highlights can be found here.