The Iron head to local rivals Doncaster Rovers on Sunday afternoon, looking to get back to winning ways.
After a strong start to the season, Scunthorpe have failed to win in their last two league fixtures, drawing with Blackpool last Saturday, before then suffering an unfortunate defeat against Blackburn in midweek. Whereas Doncaster have lost both of their last two matches, against Northampton and Rochdale, respectively.
Graham Alexander has just one new injury concern coming into the fixture, after right-back Levi Sutton was forced off in the second half against Blackburn. The Iron boss revealed that Sutton’s neck injury is not as bad as first thought, and that he is hoping the youngster will be in contention to face Rovers on Sunday. Jonny Margetts, Luke Williams and Andrew Crofts remain sidelined for at least the next few weeks.
Despite the midweek loss, Alexander was delighted with his teams efforts against Blackburn, so a similar team is likely to be named.
Jordan Clarke will come in to the side at right-back, should Sutton be unavailable. Neither one of Duane Holmes or Hakeeb Adelakun covered themselves in glory on Tuesday, so it is a toss up as to which winger will start on Sunday. Despite being starved of service, Lee Novak and Paddy Madden both put in decent performances in midweek, meaning they will both likely get the nod for the big derby match.
Just like the Iron have so far done in each of their away games, they will probably sit back and soak up pressure, then look to catch Doncaster on the counter attack. Josh Morris’ creativity will be a much needed outlet for Scunthorpe, as they look to break quickly and make the most of their set pieces. Paddy Madden will be hoping to get on the scoresheet, like he did the last time the pair met at the Keepmoat in 2015.
Doncaster Team News
After bouncing back to League One at the first attempt last season, Rovers have had a difficult start to the campaign, picking up just one victory away at Blackburn. They have failed to score in four of their seven matches, and have been leaking goals at the other end. On Tuesday night at Rochdale, Doncaster lead up until the 92nd minute, before Rochdale scored two injury-time goals and ran out 2-1 winners.
Doncaster manager Darren Ferguson believes that this is the perfect opportunity for his players to turn things around, but expects a tough match against Scunthorpe.
Rovers have a few former Iron players in their squad, who will be hoping to get one over their former side in the derby.
Defender Andy Butler, who came through the ranks at Scunthorpe, should start at centre-half on Sunday. The 33-year-old was regarded as a promising youngster by the Iron and went on to score 15 goals in 153 appearances for the club. Despite being solid in the air, his old legs could be exposed in this fixture.
Harry Toffolo recently signed on loan for Rovers, after spending last season on loan with United. The left-back never nailed down the left-back position, but did put in a number of good performances when called upon.
Midfielder Tommy Rowe is likely to miss out on Sunday, after he was ruled out of the midweek game against Rochdale. The Scunthorpe fans will not be too disappointed to not see Rowe face them on Sunday, as he proved to be an excellent player on his day, during his short time with the Iron.
Darren Ferguson has a number of players set to miss out alongside Rowe, with Ross Etheridge, Mathieu Baudry, Danny Andrew, Luke McCullough and Alex Kiwomya all expected to be unavailable to face United.
After being taken off in the first half against Rochdale, Issam Ben Khemis will almost certainly drop out and be replaced by fellow midfielder Matty Blair.
There are two main danger men of the Rovers squad. Firstly, captain James Coppinger, purely because the midfielder seems to raise his game every time he lines up against the Iron. The main threat, though, is striker John Marquis, who has so far registered 3 goals this season. Marquis played a crucial role in helping Doncaster return to League One last season, with his 25 league goals.
Scunthorpe have a reasonably poor record against Doncaster, recording just two wins in the last six meetings between the sides.
In the 2012/13 season, Rovers did the double over the Iron when they met in League One, with a 4-0 home win, followed by a 3-2 victory away at Glanford Park. The pair then played each other again two seasons later, and Doncaster were once again victorious in both fixtures, recording a 2-1 win away, before then hammering Scunthorpe 5-2 in the last game of the season. The Iron did have their revenge in the 2015/16 campaign, beating Rovers 1-0 at the Keepmoat on Boxing day and then registered a 2-0 victory at home a few months later.
Scunthorpe will be hoping to claim the local bragging rights and return to winning ways away at Doncaster on Sunday.