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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Stevenage are in determined mood

Scott Laird
Scott Laird joined Stevenage in January 2008 from Plymouth Argyle

Stevenage Borough continue their two-pronged charge towards Wembley on Saturday, when they entertain Ebbsfleet in the FA Trophy semi-final first leg.

Boro defender Scott Laird told BBC Three Counties Radio: "This is my first season as a professional.

"To be on the verge of setting new records for the club from the position we were in at the start of the season would be amazing."

Stevenage currently sit in the play-off positions in the Blue Square Premier.

They became the first club to lift a trophy in the new Wembley Stadium in 2007, when they won the FA Trophy for the first time.

Laird, 20, a former Scotland Under-19 player, added: "Some of the lads like Steve Morison and Mitchell Cole want to get back there again they enjoyed the occasion so much.

"Hearing the stories that they have been telling us, I just want it so much. All the lads do.

"We've got a great squad. Competition for places makes you raise the game. Even if there is competition coming in for left-back, it's good for me, I'll have to raise my game again and again.

"Everyone is vying for that place, especially if we have two Wembley occasions coming up, everyone is pushing for a place.

"If only everyone knew what the spirit was like around the changing room and the training ground. The boy's come in buzzing, and leave buzzing and they just can't wait for the next game. We just want to keep going."

One player who is desperate to succeed and return to Wembley is Cole, who scored the goal that set Stevenage on their way to a famous comeback in 2007, when they beat Kidderminster 3-2 with a late Steve Morison goal.

Cole said: "It's a good opportunity to get back to Wembley again. There are only a few lads here that have done it and to go back there would be special.

Mitchell Cole
Mitchell Cole also won the FA Trophy in 2005 with Grays Athletic

"I've only played in the Trophy twice and I have won it twice so maybe it's a little bit of an omen."

Stevenage are in the middle of a tremendous run of form that has seen them unbeaten now in 19 games, a run that stretches back to 2 December 2 - when Ebbsfleet won 3-0 in the Setanta Shield.

The last 12 games have also seen 11 wins.

Winger Cole, 23, said: "I don't think the boys want to step away from the league at the moment, we are doing so well and in form, we just want to carry it on.

"We had such a bad start to the season, but I don't see anyone beating us now, and if Burton weren't so far ahead, we'd catch them as well, but stranger things have happened.

"I think they will be more worried about us, rather than the other way round. We played Grays when they were the holders in the semi, and beat them reasonably comfortably. They gave us a bit of a tough time at our place but it turned out to be a pretty comfortable result and I can't see why the next two games should be any different.

"We have barely changed (the squad). We lost against Wrexham and it's pretty much been the same team for the next 19 games, and we haven't lost one. It isn't going to start on Saturday."

Stevenage will be without defender Ron Henry, who was captain of the 2007 side. He was sent off in last Saturday's league game at Northwich, and after having an appeal turned down, will miss three games, including the second leg of the semi-final.

That game will be played at current holders Ebbsfleet's Stonebridge Road on Saturday week (21 March, 1500 GMT).



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