STUART McCall wants City to follow a three-point philosophy as they prepare for his second game: Improve, learn and succeed.

Bottom club Stevenage provide the opposition tonight on a Valley Parade pitch that expects to survive the effects of Storm Ciara.

City had to practice on an artificial pitch at the university yesterday because their training facilities at Apperley Bridge were washed out.

McCall also sat down with the players to talk through Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Grimsby.

“There was a lot of effort, endeavour and willingness which was good,” he said.

“We had a meeting again but without trying to overcomplicate matters, we’re asking certain people to do things slightly different.

“It will take a while to fully register. We had a look at a lot of things, it’s not a criticism, but it’s what we can do better and we need to learn together.

“My philosophy is to improve, learn and succeed. We naturally need to make improvements and they need to know what we want from them.

“But we don’t want them to be robots. Make your own decisions at times and we’ll always encourage them in the final third to go and express themselves.”

McCall and Kenny Black have reinforced the message about taking more care over throw-ins after coughing up possession cheaply in the build-up to Grimsby’s late equaliser.

“We keep the ball in their half and the game’s over. But 40 seconds later, it’s up the other end and they are scoring a goal.

“It’s your possession and you look after it. I know it starts off in your hands but you wouldn’t go give a pass away willy-nilly.”

City are odds-on favourites with the bookies against Graham Westley’s side, who have lost their last four to slip five points behind Morecambe at the bottom.

Stevenage brought in nine players during the window as Westley desperately throws the dice and McCall has been cramming in match videos.

He will also try to get some inside info before the game from striker Kurtis Guthrie, who remains Stevenage’s top scorer after his deadline-day move to City.

McCall added: “When you look at the opposition, most of the time it’s to see if you can spot little weaknesses where we can get at them.

“It’s never to think, ‘we’re frightened of this or that’. Yes, we need to be aware of things but it’s how we can get that little advantage, whether it's from a set-piece or in certain areas of the pitch.

“They made five changes on Saturday so we might not even know how they are going to go.

“You need to win games at the bottom and they went to Exeter, second in the league, and pushed them all the way. That was the first score I looked for when we came off the park.

“But the important thing is we know how we want to play.”

McCall did not report any fresh knocks at the weekend but Kelvin Mellor is still a couple of weeks away from returning after his hamstring injury.