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Smith seeking Stevenage stability
Gary Smith will not make too many changes for his first game in charge of Stevenage against Notts County in the FA Cup.
Former Colorado Rapids boss Smith was unveiled as Graham Westley's successor on Wednesday morning, having watched from the stands as Boro came from behind to beat npower League One play-off rivals MK Dons the previous night.
Darius Charles caught the eye from the bench against the Dons and the versatile 24-year-old could have forced his way into the starting XI for the fourth-round tie.
However, Smith is expected to keep changes to a minimum following the successful caretaker reign of captain Mark Roberts and he could even name an unchanged team.
With seven substitutes permitted in the cup, Chuks Aneke will hope to get back into the squad after the on-loan Arsenal midfielder was overlooked on his return from suspension in midweek.
On-loan defender Kieron Freeman will be ineligible for Notts County.
Freeman is cup-tied having played in the previous round when his parent club Nottingham Forest went out to Leicester.
Julian Kelly could be about to make a timely return from a calf injury after three weeks out and replace Freeman at full-back. The 22-year-old Irishman will undergo a fitness test.
Should Kelly not be fit, Krystian Pearce could be recalled to fill in. Alternatively, manager Martin Allen could play Pearce in the centre of defence with one of the other centre-halves - Liam Chilvers or Damion Stewart - switching to full-back.
Midfielder Hamza Bencherif and forwards Lee Hughes and Ben Burgess will be pushing for recalls.
Unlucky Stewart sends Stevenage through
Damion Stewart's own goal ended Notts County's FA Cup dreams for another year and took Stevenage into round five as new manager Gary Smith's first game in charge ended in a 1-0 success.
Boro, who knocked out Championship side Reading in the last round, went ahead in the 12th minute when Stewart deflected Luke Freeman's strike into his own net.
Stewart almost made amends at the death but Chris Day clawed his effort off the line before Lawrie Wilson wasted a glorious chance to seal Stevenage's progress.
The home side dominated the opening exchanges and Darius Charles blazed over the crossbar after just seven minutes but Freeman's industry led to Boro's opener five minutes later.
The 19-year-old has continued to impressive since signing permanently from Arsenal earlier this month and after drawing goalkeeper Stuart Nelson wide he fired in a shot that Stewart could only deflect in.
Notts County woke up after the break and Alan Judge forced Chris Day into a fine save before the goalkeeper blocked Lee Hughes' weak effort.
Stevenage should have doubled their advantage when Charles spurned a good chance after 64 minutes before Day superbly saved Stewart's stoppage-time effort and Wilson wasted a three-man counter-attack.
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