The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ben Baker

DAR­REN Sarll has achieved his aim of mov­ing Steve­nage up a level this year, but has now chal­lenged his play­ers to stay there.

Boro fin­ished 18th last term and were lan­guish­ing in the bot­tom half again as re­cently as Jan­uary.

But a su­perb run in re­cent times has launched them into au­to­matic pro­mo­tion con­tention – just seven points be­hind third­place Portsmouth be­fore yes­ter­day’s games.

And boss Sarll has high­lighted unity at the Lamex Sta­dium as cru­cial to their turn­around.

“Like we’ve heard be­fore, there were some folk very un­happy with what we were do­ing in the depths of dark De­cem­ber, when we were strug­gling, but here we are now,” explained the man­ager.

“We’ve all done what we said we’ll do. We’ve stuck to­gether and come out mas­sively through the other side. I can’t em­pha­sise enough the tar­get this year was to es­tab­lish Steve­nage com­pet­i­tively.

“We’re do­ing that and I think we’ve gone an­other level up, as well, in the same time frame.

“How long we can stay there is down to the con­sis­tency and form of the play­ers.

“Hu­man na­ture tells you at times there will be bumps and break­downs and we have to re­spond.”

Steve­nage’s loss to Black­pool in mid­week was their first since Jan­uary 21 but Sarll is not rest­ing on his lau­rels and is des­per­ate to push the club to even greater heights.

“The great thing about the way we work here is that I don’t think any­one is ever sat­is­fied,” he added.

“I’m far too am­bi­tious to want to sit in mid-ta­ble or fight against rel­e­ga­tion like last year.

“We al­ways strive to be bet­ter and we’ve set new stan­dards this year like the club’s never set be­fore. We’ve bro­ken bound­aries the club hasn’t seen even in its more suc­cess­ful days.”

AM­BI­TIOUS: Dar­ren Sarll

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