Although the Premier League and the Championship may get more attention from the sporting media, the start of the new season in League One is just as eagerly anticipated by fans of clubs in that division. The new season is set to bring more promotion and relegation excitement, and one of the clubs that is hoping to make it out of the league this season is Scunthorpe United – but can they manage to achieve this?
Well, their efforts during last season certainly suggest that they will be one of the teams that are in serious contention for promotion. The 2016/17 season saw them make it into the play-offs, only to suffer the disappointment of losing narrowly to Millwall in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
Having taken the lead early on in that match, courtesy of Ivan Toney, the way Scunthorpe subsequently let it slip from their control was hugely frustrating for their supporters – and for manager Graham Alexander.
Now the task is to go one better this season and the club were certainly active during the summer months as they sought to strengthen their squad for this promotion bid. The first to arrive was defender Cameron Burgess, who was signed from Fulham, and he was followed by goalkeeper Matt Gilks – who will likely be a straight replacement for the departing Luke Daniels. However, although these look to be solid signings, there have also been departures – with perhaps the biggest loss being the captain Stephen Dawson.
Although age was not on his side, at 31, he was an inspirational figure in their promotion push last season and his transfer to Bury will leave a big gap to be filled. A plus point for the side as they bid to win promotion is the retention of versatile defender/midfielder Josh Morris. Not only is he able to fill in within a number of positions at the back or in the middle of the park, he was also the club’s top scorer last season – with 19 league goals.
The only other player to get into double figures for the club last season was striker Paddy Madden, with 11, and this definitely shows a weakness in the team. A lack of real firepower up front is something that could prove a real problem if Morris isn’t able to replicate his goal scoring heroics of last season. Scunthorpe had not as great start to the season as one hoped for, with 2 points on the board from 2 draws, and bookmakers rate them 6/1 to win promotion this time.
There will certainly be plenty of people betting, both on individual matches and the promotion race, but if your nerves can’t stand it then a football slot game such as Soccer Safari might be a better alternative.
With the season just kicked off, fans of Scunthorpe will be full of anticipation of their team improving on last season’s near miss – and if they can take advantage of that easy start there is no reason why those dreams can’t become reality.