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Match Preview: Scunthorpe United vs Bristol Rovers

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The Iron are back in League One action, with the visit of Bristol Rovers at Glanford Park on Saturday.

United drew 0-0 in the first round of the FA Cup last weekend, while Rovers were knocked out of the cup on Friday night and also lost 4-2 in the Checkatrade Trophy at home to Swindon in midweek.

Graham Alexander has no new injury worries heading into the game, with Neal Bishop and Conor Townsend fighting to be fit for the weekend. Jonny Margetts is expected to remain sidelined for a number of months, while Luke Williams and Sam Mantom are no closer to a return.

The Iron Captain, Rory McArdle, will be unavailable after receiving a call up for Northern Ireland’s World Cup play-off matches against Switzerland. Midfielder Clayton Lewis is also away on International duty with New Zealand.

The loss of McArdle should see Murray Wallace move back into his favoured centre-half position, with either Lewis Butroid or Conor Townsend returning at left-back.

If Neal Bishop is unable to prove his fitness, Andrew Crofts is likely to partner Funso Ojo in the centre of midfield. Tom Hopper and Lee Novak could start up top together again, after the pair impressed in United’s last league match at Oldham.

After creating very few chances at Northampton last weekend, the Scunthorpe boss will be looking to the likes of Josh Morris to make an impact; the winger registered his first goal for the Iron in this fixture last season.

Josh Morris will be hoping to register against Rovers again

Bristol Rovers Team News

The Pirates have had a mixed bag of results in the first few months of the season, with a 6-0 away victory at Northampton and a 4-0 defeat at Shrewsbury. Rovers’ lack of consistency is the main reason as to why they currently sit in mid-table.

The Gas boss, Darrell Clarke, has come under a little bit of scrutiny of late, after seeing his side win just once in the last seven games – but there has been a number off-field problems going on behind the scenes at the club.

Former Iron ‘keeper Sam Slocombe will return to Glanford Park on Saturday. Slocombe spent seven years with United, in which time he amassed 133 appearances for the club. It is unlikely he will start against Scunthorpe, after recently being dropped for the last two matches.

Rovers will be without the services of Ryan Sweeney and Tom Lockyer, as the pair are both away on International duty. Billy Bodin, who has scored seven goals from midfield this season, continues to miss out with a hamstring injury. Defender James Clarke remains sidelined until next year after undergoing surgery.

The danger man for the Gas is Liam Sercombe. The versatile midfielder has scored four goals to go alongside five assists in all competitions this season – and he will look to control the middle of the park and create chances for his team mates.

Danger man Liam Sercombe

Previous Matches

The Iron have a relatively mediocre recent record against Rovers, having recorded just two victories in the last six encounters between the two sides.

In late 2008, Scunthorpe registered a 2-1 win at the Memorial Stadium, before Rovers secured a 2-0 away win in the reverse fixture. It was four years before the pair met again, with both matches in the 2013/14 campaign ending in draws. United beat the Gas 3-1 on the opening day of last season at Glanford Park, while in the latest match in February of this year, Scunthorpe were fortunate to come away with a draw at the Memorial.

The Iron will be hoping to extend their solid recent league run and continue climbing the table with a win over Rovers on Saturday.

Written by James Murray

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

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