In 1959, Scunthorpe United were promoted to the old Division Two. It was the first time in the club’s history that they had reached such a high level after most of its history spent in the Midlands League.
They would stay there for six up-and-down seasons before succumbing to relegation again. In that time, they’d finished in the lower half for the first few seasons and ninth twice. When they went down in 1964, it was just two years after the club had finished fourth in the second tier, just five points off a promotion spot.
It would take another 43 years before they reached that level again, a solitary season in the Championship in 2007/08 was the next foray into the second tier.
I mention all of that history talk because with the Iron are currently fifth in League One, it would be an achievement to reach the third tier play-offs and get back to those heady heights again.
Since 1964, there have been three Championship seasons for Scunthorpe, so a play-off place would be nothing groundbreaking, of course, but to do that twice in a row does show a level of consistency that the club should be proud of. Even despite the recent poor form.
Having gone into last weekend’s game in ninth place, the Iron needed to beat a decent Charlton Athletic side to keep those play-off hopes alive, and they did it thanks to a second-half strike from Ivan Toney.
Now, because of that victory over fellow play-off hopefuls, the Iron have it all in their own hands and will go into the next few weeks full of justified confidence. After a disaster of a new year, things are potentially looking up, and that victory could kick-start a late period of good form which could spell momentum for potential play-off triumph.
After all, when it comes to the run in, Scunthorpe are in luck: three of their four remaining games will be against bottom half opposition, with only Plymouth Argyle coming from the top half of the table.
In their own hands
That doesn’t necessarily mean that a play-off spot is a given, and the club have suffered too many setbacks over the last few weeks to take it as anything other than a good opportunity to make the best of a bad 2018.
Nor does it mean that those games should be taken for granted. Indeed, with Walsall and MK Dons to come, Nick Daws’ men will find themselves up against sides who are fighting for their lives in the division, and relegation battlers are not the sort of sides you want to come up against at this stage of the season. Such games are always delicately poised, and especially at League One level, plenty of players will be feeling as though they are fighting for their livelihoods and careers as much as they are battling for professional pride and places.
Source Scunthorpe Telegraph
One Last Push
But it’s still a great position to be in. Especially after a few weeks ago, when Graham Alexander was sacked after a run of eight games without a win.
That, too, shows just how tight this league can be.
The Iron have won just two games since New Year’s Day, but equally, they’ve only lost five. The draws have been the problem. Long periods of stalemates punctuated by defeats are not what you want, but if they’ve kept the club in with a shout of promotion then now isn’t the time to look back in anger – instead, this is a chance to build momentum in order to achieve something later on. Scunthorpe currently have odd of 4/1 to gain promotion into the Championship.
Every season in the lower leagues, we see one team make a late push. Thanks to their poor form since January, that team isn’t Scunthorpe, but perhaps with a bit of confidence and the leap up the table they’ve experienced over the last few days, it can be the Iron who build that momentum late and go into the play-offs on a fresh run which can take them all the way to Wembley and beyond.
It’s now up to the squad to get behind Daws and prove that this wasn’t a one-off. If they do that, the remaining fixtures should be kind enough to secure a play-off spot, and from there anything’s possible.
Scunthorpe shouldn’t be too downhearted by their poor form of late. This is a club who are making great strides and could well be playing Championship football again soon for one of the few times in their history. And just as easily as the poor form arrived in January, the good times could start again in April and May.