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Opposition Lowdown: Steve Evans' Stevenage

Reading’s Carabao Cup campaign kicks off with a home game against League Two side Stevenage. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Soccer - Sky Bet League One - Rotherham United v Stevenage - New York Stadium Photo by Nigel French - PA Images via Getty Images


Stevenage finished the 2021/22 season in 21st position in League Two, nine points clear of the relegation places. The Boro have started their ninth straight season in League Two with two consecutive wins, beating Tranmere 1-2 away from home and Stockport 2-1 at home this past weekend.

The last tie between the two sides ended with a 3-0 win for Reading, where Jon Dadi Bodvarsson scored a hat trick in an FA Cup third-round replay at the Madejski Stadium.

The boss

Steve Evans: Controversial manager Steve Evans took over at Stevenage in March this year, replacing the outgoing former Exeter boss Paul Tisdale. Evans, who previously managed Gillingham for two seasons in League One, took over with the club three points away from the relegation zone, but guided Stevenage to four wins to secure their place in the Football League. Evans’ career highlight was leading Rotherham United to back-to-back promotions in 2013 and 2014, guiding the Millers from League Two to the Championship.


Stevenage have had a busy summer, bringing in 11 players to the Lamex Stadium. Notable signings include former Peterborough captain Michael Bostwick, back for a second spell at The Boro, left back Max Clark from Rochdale and young goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond on loan from Fulham. Stevenage are expecting a clean bill of health with no known injuries or suspensions for Tuesday night’s game.

Expected line-up

Chapman, Wildin, Sweeney, Vancooten, Piergianni, Earley, Taylor, Bostwick, Reeves, Norris, Reid

Key player

Luke Norris: Striker Norris joined Stevenage back in January 2021, signing from fellow League Two side Colchester United. He finished last season as Stevenage’s top scorer, scoring 16 goals throughout the campaign. A product of the Brentford academy, Norris thrives off long balls played forward to him. He scored a penalty in this weekend’s 2-1 win at home to Stockport.

One to watch

Jake Taylor: Taylor joined Stevenage in May 2021, arriving from their League Two rivals Exeter City. A familiar face to many Royals fans, Taylor is a Reading academy graduate and made 36 appearances for Reading after making his debut in 2010. He is an energetic, all-action midfielder with strong leadership qualities, having captained Exeter from 2018.