As you might expect at this formative stage of the new football season, Boro’ have been busy on and off the pitch.
Coach Jorden Gibson has departed for pastures new at Newport County; replaced in the backroom staff by Mark Sampson – a name you may be familiar with following his stint as manager of the England women’s team. David Oldfield is also coming on board.
And taking the reins of the Academy prospects will be Alex Revell and club legend Ronnie Henry.
— Stevenage FC 🔴⚪ (@StevenageFC) July 5, 2019
The main man, Dino Maamria, has also been busy and not rested on his laurels from the 2018-9 campaign, where of course, we finished just one point adrift of the play-offs.
A few faces have left the club, including loanees Moses Makasi and the excellent Ilias Chair; Johnny Hunt and Joe Martin, meanwhile, are also trying their hand somewhere else.
But as far as squad retention is concerned it’s a case of so far, so good for Maamria. The gaffer has also added to his options by bringing in a trio of new players in Chris Stokes, Paul Digby and Jason Cowley.
Could they make the difference between success and failure this term? The latest League Two promotion betting odds are available at Oddschecker, where you can take advantage of a range of welcome bonuses and offers should you want to back the Boro for a top-seven finish. Given the evidence of last season, the available price of 12/1 is excellent value.
So what do we know about our new stars? And could they be the difference makers?
Stoking the Fire
With Martin and Hunt heading out of the exit door at the Lamex, finding a new left-back was top of Maamria’s agenda.
And he appears to have landed a good one in Chris Stokes; opting to terminate his contract at promoted Bury to step down a division and join us.
To be fair, the Shakers are in all sorts of financial woe, so his decision wasn’t a difficult one, but even so we should be pleased that a near ever-present in a solid Bury side wants to sign on the dotted line with us.
The 28-year-old made 37 League Two appearances last term. He also has plenty of League One experience from his time at Coventry City.
Solid and dependable, Stokes will be a reliable campaigner down the left side for us, and hopefully, help to improve our occasional Achilles Heel from last season which was some rather unprofessional defending at times.
Forward progress can be achieved in football through incremental gains, and those can be achieved simply by bringing in better players than you have already.
And that’s why we’re buzzing with the signing of Paul Digby, a young man with an impressive past and (hopefully) a bright future.
The 24-year-old has already represented England at youth level, and he played in the Championship for both Ipswich and Barnsley.
Last season he found himself at Forest Green, and it was the first time in his young career that Digby was able to establish himself as a first-team regular.
He was a key part of the Rovers side that went all the way to the play-offs, ultimately falling short, but with 37 League Two appearances to his name clearly Digby was a key part of that progress.
Comfortable at centre back but more commonly utilised as a tenacious defensive midfielder, Digby is a fine signing and further proof of the fine strides that the Boro is making.
Cowley Hoping to Cause a Stir
The term ‘social media sensation’ is enough to have you reaching for the smelling salts.
New man Jason Cowley caused a storm on the internet earlier in the year…but happily, it was for all the right reasons.
He was playing for former club Bromsgrove Sporting in Southern League Division One Central when he would score a goal that would see him become a global viral star.
He flicked the ball over the head of a defender with his heel, before spinning his man and volleying a precise finish into the bottom corner.
Don’t worry, Cowley isn’t some kind of hype machine or flash-in-the-pan; he scored a whopping 102 goals in 127 appearances for the West Midlanders as they secured three consecutive promotions. Maamria needed little hesitation to get involved.
“I am hungry, aggressive and love scoring goals. I can’t wait to grasp this opportunity with both hands,” Cowley told the club’s official website.
If he can find the net with regularity for the Boro, it might just propel us into the top seven.