Boro boss Gary Smith spoke to BBC Three Counties Radio and the Comet ahead of his side's 2012-13 League One opener against Carlisle at the Lamex Stadium, Smith looking for a repeat of Stevenage's home 3-1 Capital One Cup win over AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday evening:
"Although it's a very long journey for them and one they won't be relishing for the opening fixture, the reality is that everybody is looking to get off to a good start. It's a long, long season but if we can put some points on the board, it will make us feel an awful lot better. Everybody will be encouraged by the performance against Wimbledon and getting that first competitive game out of the way because they are so different to pre-season games.
“It was good to get rid of some of those nerves and that edginess out of our system, and what we’ll be hoping is that we can perform against Carlisle to a similar degree to what we did against Wimbledon. All the new guys in the group - and I think there were six or seven new faces in the starting line-up - will feel a lot better about themselves, so we'll attack the weekend and hopefully perform to the same sort of standard."
Eight players in David Gray, Bondz N’Gala, James Dunne, Anthony Grant, Filipe Morais, Greg Tansey, Marcus Haber and Lucas Akins all made their debuts for the Boro in that Capital One Cup win over AFC Wimbledon after signing for the club in the summer, but one player who is still looking to make his first start is Lee Hills. The former Crystal Palace left-back picking up an injury two and a half weeks ago in a pre-season friendly at Bishop’s Stortford.
Elsewhere meanwhile striker Dan Cowan is still out after in March and also at Bishop’s Stortford, suffering a broken tibia, this time though it was in a Hertfordshire Senior Cup tie. The final injury concern for Stevenage tomorrow being that centre-half Jon Ashton is still not back to full match fitness after his own pre-season problem, Ashton only available for a place on the bench against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday. Better news for Boro boss Gary Smith though is that midfielder Matt Ball is back in the matchday squad after playing for Northern Ireland’s under-21s in a 3-2 defeat in Hungary on Wednesday evening.
The referee for tomorrow afternoon’s match is Fred Graham from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex and he will be assisted down the lines by one man in Dan Cook from Gosport in Hampshire and one woman in Slovakian native Alexandra Ihringova, who is now based in Telford, Shropshire. Meanwhile the fourth official is Oleksandr Saliy from Enfield in Middlesex.