After the frustration of a wasted trip north last Saturday, Sutton will be hoping for better luck with the weather when making the rather shorter trip to Stevenage on Saturday.
It will be the third meeting between the sides this season, with U's first EFL win coming in the league game at the VBS Community Stadium in September when Richie Bennett's two goals turned the game round after Elliott List had given Stevenage the lead. Just under three months later it was a goalkeeper rather than a striker making the headlines as Dean Bouzanis saved three consecutive penalties in a shootout to see U's through to the last sixteen of the Papa John's Trophy after a goalless 90 minutes.
That game came a couple of days after Paul Tisdale had been appointed as Stevenage manager following the departure of Alex Revell, and he picked up his first win last weekend with a 3-1 success at home to Walsall. He has made several additions to the squad during January, with experienced defender Michael Bostwick returning to the club from Burton and midfielder Ed Upson signed from Newport, while goalkeepers Laurie Walker and Christy Pym have joined from MK Dons and Peterborough respectively - on loan Joseph Anang, who kept goal in both games against Sutton, has returned to West Ham.
Stevenage put four points between themselves and the bottom two with that win over Walsall, their fourth at home following earlier wins against Colchester, Hartlepool and Barrow.
Sutton remained fourth after the midweek fixtures saw Swindon beaten at Mansfield, and Matt Gray has almost a full squad to choose from, with two minor injury and illness concerns but otherwise only Coby Rowe and Harry Beautyman remaining on the sidelines, and Craig Eastmond finally available again after serving suspensions in both League Two and the Papa John's Trophy.
Matt has added to the squad today with the signing of experienced goalkeeper Stuart Nelson, who was most recently with Dorking Wanderers but has made around 500 appearances in a career that has spanned twenty years, most notably with Brentford, Notts County and Gillingham. Brad House is likely to go out on loan, and Matt explains more in our pre-match interview which will be on line later today.
The clubs met today in the EFL Youth Alliance at the VBS and U's struck an early blow with a resounding win against a Stevenage side third in the South East table. Euan Mutale led the way with four of the goals, and there was a goal apiece for Kai Tanner and Daniel Olaybiyi.
Referee tomorrow is Paul Howard, who has refereed several Sutton games at National League level and took charge of the game at Rochdale in October.
Admission is available on the day, prices are: Adults £24; Concession £22; Under 18 £16; Under 12 £10. Concessions are: Disabled (Proof of medium–high living disability allowance or equivalent PIP Award); Students with valid ID Card; 60 & over – Born on or before 31/07/1962; Ex/Current Serviceman/woman (with a Defence Discount Service Card); NHS/Emergency Service Workers. Our accommodation is in the South Stand.
Supporters are welcome to have a prematch drink in the Broadhall Suite, next to the away end.
The Supporters' Club coach leaves the VBS at 12 noon on Saturday and is now fully booked.
For independent travellers the ground is on the A602, just off junction 7 of the A1(M). You will see the ground by the second roundabout after leaving the A1(M), and free parking for 500 cars is available at Fairlands Valley Car Park, on the left opposite the ground. Please do not park in any of the nearby retail parks - alternative parking is available in town centre pay and display car parks.
By rail, with Stevenage now on the Thameslink service it is an easy trip from Sutton, taking about an hour and a half, changing somewhere between Blackfriars and King's Cross(leave Sutton xx16 or xx46), or at London Bridge (xx26 or xx56). The ground is a mile from the station. Turn left out of the ticket barriers towards the town. Take the stairs on the right before the bridge over the dual carriageway and head along the A602, Lytton Way with the railway on your right. At the roundabout which has the police station on the right, use the underpass to take the second exit into Six Hills Way towards Asda. At the next roundabout take the third exit (South) continuing along the A602 Monkswood Way, passing Asda on your right and North Herts College. After about 3/4 mile you will arrive at a roundabout and the ground will be opposite you on the other side of the A602.
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