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Match Preview: Northampton Town vs Scunthorpe United

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The Iron head to Northampton this weekend, for the third encounter between the two sides in the last two weeks.

The pair met at Glanford Park on Tuesday night in the FA Cup, where Scunthorpe secured their passage through to the second round with a 1-0 win. The Cobblers had previously been on a six-game unbeaten run.

Graham Alexander has a few injury problems, with Josh Morris the biggest concern heading into the match. The midfielder missed out on the FA Cup tie in midweek, after suffering from a hamstring injury last weekend. The Iron boss revealed that Sam Mantom is three weeks away from a return, while Luke Williams and Jonny Margetts also remain sidelined.

Rory McArdle could be installed back into the starting line-up at Sixfields on Saturday, after being deemed only fit enough for the bench on Tuesday night. Matt Gilks is fine, despite suffering from a knock against Town. Neal Bishop, Andrew Crofts and Clayton Lewis may also be in contention, as each of them missed the midweek match.

Conor Townsend returned to the side for the FA Cup tie, operating in a new role on the left-wing; it will be interesting to see whether he can hold on to his place from the start.

Alexander has some tough decisions to make with his lineup this weekend and, in an interview with the Scunthorpe Telegraph, he said, “It is a dilemma and even though I have ideas in my head about how I want to go about it, I do have to make tough decisions.”

“It is about rewarding performances, but I also believe that if players perform before that and miss one game through suspension, injury or an international call up, then they have built up a little bank of credit from how they have performed before.”

He continued, “That is why it is such a tough week because we have more than 11 players who have ticked both of those criteria. So if I can’t have dispensation to play more than 11 players, then I will have to make these tough decisions.”

The Scunthorpe boss will be hoping Hakeeb Adelakun can build upon his impressive performance in midweek, in which he scored a sublime winning goal for the Iron.

Hakeeb Adelakun celebrates his midweek wonder goal against Northampton

Northampton Team News

The Cobblers manager, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, is demanding a better performance from his side than the one which resulted in a 1-0 defeat at Glanford Park.

In a pre-match interview, Hasselbaink said, “It’s about how you respond after a defeat and it’s a moment for a team to show their character.”

“Scunthorpe are a top team and we’ve seen that. The first half on Tuesday night wasn’t acceptable from our point of view but in the second-half we were better. We want to grow as a team and we want to keep improving.”

“The performance at Oxford (where the Cobblers won 2-1) was good but we don’t just want to replicate that, we want to better it.”

Hasselbaink is expected to once again make several changes to his squad, after mixing up his side in midweek, with Aaron Phillips the only Town player definitely ruled out. There are doubts over the availability of Alex Revell, who is returning to fitness, while Sam Hoskins is a doubt after suffering an injury against Scunthorpe two weeks ago.

Daniel Powell, Matt Ingram, Regan Poole and Matt Grimes are back in the mix after all four missed out on Tuesday, while David Buchanan and Brendan Moloney are expected to return after being rested.

Lewis McGugan and John-Joe O’Toole came off the bench in midweek and Leon Barnett returned to the matchday squad for the first time in two months, and now each of them are in contention for starting spots.

Previous Matches

Scunthorpe have won two of their last three matches against Northampton, with the three previous encounters ending in draws.

In the 2013/14 season, both of the league matches between the sides resulted in 1-1 draws. Last season, the pair played out yet another 1-1 draw at Glanford Park, before United secured a 2-1 victory at Sixfields in January courtesy of a late Josh Morris wonder strike. Two weeks ago, the two sides drew 0-0 in the FA Cup, before United secured a 1-0 victory in the replay on Tuesday.

The Iron will be hoping to carry on their recent unbeaten run against Northampton and record a victory that keeps them climbing up the League One table on Saturday.

Written by James Murray

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

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Hasselbaink demands improvement when Northampton and Scunthorpe meet in the League

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