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The Opposition View: Stevenage
Sam Neal answers some questions ahead of Saturday's match.
Given that your club finished in the play-offs last season, what is your assessment of this campaign?
Last summer was one of great change for Stevenage FC we had so many key players leave and at the start of the season we as fans had absolutely no idea what to expect. If you asked me at the start of the season "would you take mid-table?" I would have bit your arm off but after a flying start it has an air of disappointment to it as well but overall after a mass clear out I think it's been a decent season.
Did Gary Smith deserve to be sacked and what do you make of Graham Westley's return?
Gary had a tough job not only replacing the most successful manager in the club's history but dealing with the increased expectations. He started well getting us into the playoffs and we made a good start to this season but the run we went on was unacceptable (when you win 2 games in 14 you're always going to be in trouble) and it just seemed like he was not the right man to turn it round.
In a number of post match interviews he would sound like a man running out of ideas and the performances towards the end of his tenure bar one or two games were woeful! So overall I think the right decision was made.
As far as Westley is concerned, I am delighted he's back and I felt he was the only man for the job. Many question his personality and the way he does things but the one thing you cannot question is that he gets the team playing and brings a great deal of pride to the football club. He was the one who got us here and I think he is the right man to take us forward it's certainly going to be an exciting summer seeing what he plans to do with the squad he has inherited and to see if he brings back a few players that left in the summer.
Patrick Agyemang has been excellent since joining Pompey on loan. What do Stevenage fans think of him?
I think it's safe to say he divides opinion and unfortunately i'd say the vast majority were happy to see the back of him. We saw the occasional decent performance however I have to say I don't think we saw the best of him at Broadhall Way.
That said, he seems to have found his feet at Portsmouth and has scored a few goals so maybe the move away has been good for him but if I'm honest I'd be surprised to see him back in a Boro shirt anytime soon.
Who are the key players in this Stevenage side?
I don't think you can start talking about our players without talking about Mark Roberts, our captain. He really is and has been a magnificent servant to the club, he's a great leader, a fantastic centre half and one that has given everything to the club.
James Dunne has been fantastic in midfield for us this season I would say he's been our player of the year a real hard working midfielder.
The other one I'd say is Dani Lopez he spent most of the season on loan at Aldershot and Barnet however since Smith recalled him he's been fantastic and clearly has real ability to pull out something special.
What are your team's biggest weaknesses?
I don't feel it's fair to name players individually but our back four has been a mess at times this season but we've been relatively solid in the last couple of games, despite playing 70 mins at Crawley with ten men.
What sort of match will you be expecting at Fratton Park on Saturday?
Under Westley we are always hard to beat and with you being so desperate for a win at the bottom I can see it being a really tight game, I think both teams will score though.
We don't have much to play for but I am really looking forward to visiting Fratton Park it should be a fantastic atmosphere and a great day out.
Predict the outcome of the game.
Portsmouth 1-2 Stevenage (Connolly) (Dunne, Akins (pen))
Source: Fratton Faithful
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