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Match Preview: Gillingham vs Scunthorpe United

The Iron face the long journey down to Kent to play managerless Gillingham on Tuesday night.

United come into the game on the back of a weekend victory over Portsmouth, while the Gills were beaten 3-0 away at Rochdale on Saturday.

Graham Alexander has revealed that Lee Novak is fit, despite being taken off early on in the second half against Pompey, with what is thought to have just been cramp. Andrew Crofts is getting closer to being fit enough to be part of the squad, but the Scunthorpe boss may let him get a few extra days training behind him first. Conor Townsend will miss out again, along with Charlie Goode, Luke Williams and Jonny Margetts.

The Iron are expected to name an unchanged side, should Novak be able to start once again. Lewis Butroid is likely to continue at left-back in the absence of Conor Townsend, after his impressive performance in his league debut at the weekend.

Scunthorpe will be looking to soak up any pressure the Gills put on them, before breaking quickly on the counter attack – a tactic they have employed in each of their away games so far. The pace of Duane Holmes on the wing could be an important outlet for the Iron, and he will be coming into the match full of confidence after getting on the scoresheet against Portsmouth.

Duane Holmes celebrates goal against Portsmouth

Gillingham Team News

The Gills announced on Monday that manager Ady Pennock had left the club by mutual consent, having seen his side record just one victory so far this season. That win came over Charlton last week, but five losses from nine games has played a crucial role in Pennock’s departure from the club. The vastly experienced Peter Taylor has been placed in charge as caretaker manager.

Captain Lee Martin and striker Tom Eaves are both ruled out of the clash, as Martin serves the final game of a three-match ban, while Eaves was sent off during the defeat to Rochdale on Saturday. Conor Wilkinson’s fitness is being monitored ahead of the match, with the forward struggling with a hip injury.

Defender Luke O’Neil will be hoping to line up against the Iron, after he spent time on loan at the club in 2014. In his 15 appearances for Scunthorpe, the right-back was relatively solid and showed willingness to get up and down the right-hand side at every opportunity.

Peter Taylor will be looking to see improvements at both ends of the field against United, with the Gills shipping 14 goals so far and registering just 6 of their own. Scunthorpe have the strongest defensive record in the league, conceding just 3 goals so far.

Gillingham’s two main danger men, Lee Martin and Tom Eaves, are both suspended for the fixture, which is a massive bonus for the Iron. Sean Clare, who has been one of the Gills better performers in recent weeks, could be one of the main threats to Scunthorpe. The on loan Sheffield Wednesday man is an athletic midfielder, who will look to get on the ball and create chances. The 21-year-old scored in a 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon two weeks ago.

Sean Clare after scoring against Wimbledon

Previous Matches

The Iron have a relatively average recent record against the Gills, winning three of their last six matches against their opponents.

In the 2014/15 campaign, Scunthorpe did the double over Gillingham, recording a 3-0 victory away from home, before then winning 2-1 at Glanford Park. The Gills then beat the Iron 2-1 at the Priestfield Stadium in the next season and then the two sides played out a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture. Last season, United hammered Gillingham 5-0 at Glanford Park, before the Gills then came from 2-0 down to win 3-2, courtesy of three Josh Wright penalties in a manic last 15 minutes in March of this year.

Scunthorpe will be hoping to avenge their most recent result at Gillingham and extend their winning streak to three matches on Tuesday night.

Written by James Murray

Aspiring journalist and Scunthorpe United fan studying at the London South Bank University.

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