2017/18 League Two Preview: Darren Sarll and Stevenage

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 11 July 2017, 10:19

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Darren Sarll and Stevenage ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League Two season.

Background

Stevenage made huge strides in Darren Sarll’s first full season at the helm and looked like genuine contenders for automatic promotion as they approached the home straight on a blistering run of ten wins from 13 matches. However, they ran out of steam and finished with a whimper, taking only two points from the final six matches, leaving Sarll barely able to contain his frustration. His playing career might not measure up to most other League Two bosses but his ambition certainly does.

Personality

The epitome of a dark horse. There’s an inner focus and determination about the 34-year-old that passes under the radar. He decided early on his career that he would make a better manager than player, so he started coaching at 18 and had collected his badges by the age of 22. Most other managers who encountered him along the way never really knew who he was but were always struck by his inquisitiveness. He works to a clear plan that enables him to make snap judgements.

Quote

"I don’t want to be mediocre. I don’t want Stevenage to be mediocre, I want us to be great. But we are going to have to do things a little differently and work a little bit harder. The group takes on a new shape now. Twelve months on, we are miles ahead in terms of our physical development. The players we retained have improved their professionalism and their athleticism. That means we can get going a little bit earlier, a little bit quicker."

Verdict

There was nothing special about Stevenage last season. They simply developed a style of play that’s consistently rewarded at this level when executed properly, much as it used to be under Graham Westley. Sarll was adamant long before the summer break that a lack of stamina and athleticism had been the root cause of their late collapse and that clear focus should serve them well. If they can impose themselves sooner and sustain it for longer, they will be there or thereabouts.

Prediction: play-offs

Darren Sarll

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