In the sixth instalment of our deep dive into the new teams joining us in Sky Bet League One, we are looking at Stevenage who were promoted from the league below last season.
HOW LAST SEASON WENT
It was a season to remember for Steve Evans’ side last season as they performed throughout their League Two campaign and managed to take one of the three automatic spots, finishing in second place after their three wins streak to round out the season.
To say the side had the start of dreams wouldn’t be far off as they managed to pick up maximum points from their opening three games in all competitions, beating Tranmere Rovers and Stockport County in the league and Reading in the Carabao Cup, before falling to a 1-1 draw against Walsall midway through August.
This form would carry on up until the new year as Boro won 18 of their opening 25 games in all competitions with big wins coming against Sutton United and Barrow in the league, and King’s Lynn in the FA Cup. Looking at the King’s Lynn result, this was in the second round, and they managed to go two more rounds in the competition before losing out to Stoke City.
Evans and his side took a dip in form at the start of January and were without a win for a month, losing four and drawing two, but this turned around again after a dramatic 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon in February. A strong end to the season secured their spot in League One next season and it will be a new side for Fleetwood Town to face.
STAND OUT PLAYER
Joint-top scorer last season Luke Norris is a player that the Cods must watch out for going into the new season as he managed to add 14 goals to his name during their promotion campaign last time out. Alongside him on that list was fellow forward Jamie Reid and midfielder Jordan Roberts, who both netted 10 goals in the league and matched the 14-goal total in all competitions.
The 30-year-old started out his career in the Luton Town and Brentford academies and even went on to rise through the ranks and make his debut for the latter club in 2011 when he came off the bench against Southampton. Most of his time there was in the Development League 2 South where he finished as the club’s top scorer in the 2012/13 season with 10 goals.
Three successful loans to Boreham Wood, Northampton Town, and Dagenham & Redbridge saw his goalscoring form continue before making the permanent leap to Gillingham in July 2014 where he managed 14 goals in 70 games. A move to Swindon would follow two years later and similar form would ensue as another 17 goals were added to his tally in two years.
Colchester United was up next and led the line to consecutive play-off pushes in League Two, the first saw them end up a point outside the desired spots and the season after seeing them narrowly lose out to Exeter City in a 3-2 aggregate. Halfway through the next season, he would then head to Stevenage and has since played in more than 100 games, scoring 37 goals in that time.
A FAMILIAR FACE
Someone who the Cod Army will recognise from the Stevenage ranks is left-back Max Clark who was signed by Fleetwood back in the summer of 2021 by Simon Grayson and spent six months at the club.
Clark has been linked with top-flight clubs in the past and joined the Cods off the back of a stint with Eredivisie side Vitesse, where he played 57 times, found the back of the net three times, and assisted a further seven, as well as gaining experience in the Europa League with the side.
The defender started his career with his hometown team Hull City and after making 30 appearances in his breakthrough season, he would then go on loan to Cambridge United for two seasons, before leaving for the previously mentioned Dutch side, Vitesse.
After featuring for Town 15 times, with 10 of those appearances coming in League One, he then made the move to Rochdale in League Two where he would see out the latter half of the 2021/22 season. His latest move took him to Stevenage and, after playing in 47 games in all competitions, it’s fair to say he played a key role in their promotion.