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Match Preview: Scunthorpe United vs Wigan Athletic

The Iron are back in league action at home against Wigan Athletic this weekend.

The fixture brings together the teams with the two best defensive records in the league, with United conceding five goals so far and the Lactics’ letting in just six.

Scunthorpe come into the game on the back of a 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy win over local rivals Grimsby, but have failed to win in their last two league matches. Wigan come into the fixture full of confidence after recent league victories over Walsall and Plymouth, and they should be the fresher of the two sides having not played in midweek.

Graham Alexander has reported no fresh injury worries ahead of the game and will have the same squad available to select from. Conor Townsend and Charlie Goode are close to a return, but they both require a bit more time to gain fitness. Luke Williams and Jonny Margetts remain absent and are further away from a return.

New signing Clayton Lewis will have to wait to make his debut as the club are still awaiting international clearance.

A number of changes are expected to the side that saw off Grimsby on Tuesday, after Alexander made seven changes to the line-up.

Matt Gilks will return in goal, with Jordan Clarke and Rory McArdle expected to come back into the defence. Neal Bishop will probably replace Devonte Redmond, while Funso Ojo is pushing for a recall. Josh Morris could return on the wing, with Duane Holmes and Hakeeb Adelakun vying for a spot on the right. Tom Hopper is likely to continue up front after his two goals against Grimsby.

Tom Hopper scoring against Grimsby

Wigan Team News

The Latics’ have had an excellent start to the campaign, as they sit second in the table having recorded victories in four of their last five matches.

After suffering relegation from the Championship last season, Paul Cook was appointed as the new manager at the club. Cook seems to have got his methods wired into his players quickly, with his side notching twenty goals and conceding just six so far.

Ivan Toney will return to face his old side on Saturday, after the striker spent the second half of last season on loan with the Iron. Despite a slow start to his spell with United, Toney left the club as a firm fans favourite after helping the side secure a third placed finish in League One. The youngster has so far registered just twice for the Tics’ this season and could be left on the bench.

Wigan had the chance to call off the fixture, with a few of their squad members away on international duty. The biggest loss is Sam Morsy, who is away with Egypt, while goalkeepers Owen Evans and Matija Sarkic are also away with their respective national teams.

Michael Jacobs was forced off at half-time last week, so he is a slight doubt for the game against the Iron.

Paul Cook’s side will more than likely look to soak up pressure and remain solid, before looking to catch Scunthorpe on the counter attack.

The Wigan side has a number of fine individuals for League One level, but Nick Powell is their main danger man. The attacking midfielder has five league goals to his name and will pose a real threat, playing between the Iron’s midfield and defence. Powell likes to get on the ball and create opportunities, but he is also very dangerous in front of goal and should be closely marked.

Danger man Nick Powell

Previous Matches

Scunthorpe have a dismal recent record against the Latics’, having lost five of their last six encounters, with their last victory over Wigan coming in 1996.

In the 1999/2000 season, when the sides met in the old Division Two, the Tics’ did the double over the Iron. The following campaign, Scunthorpe were drawn against Wigan in the League Cup and were unfortunately knocked out after a 1-0 loss. A year later, the Iron were once again pitted against the Latics’ in the League Cup and, unsurprisingly, they suffered defeat and were consequently knocked out. The two teams didn’t cross paths again until 2015, when they met in League One, where history repeated itself with Wigan running out 3-0 victors. In the last encounter between the sides, Scunthorpe managed to finally scrape a result out of the Tics’, drawing 1-1 at Glanford Park.

The Iron will be hoping to avenge their miserable recent record against Wigan and get back to winning ways in the league on Saturday.

Written by James Murray

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

Alexander pleased with second half performance against Grimsby

Cook delighted with ‘deserved’ Wigan victory