After two weeks of isolation due to a COVID outbreak the Iron sprung back into action this weekend, playing host to Solihull Moors, in a chance to forget a disappointing start to fortunes again in the fourth tier for Cox and his side.

But penalties, red cards and individual errors returned once again and just like seasons past Scunthorpe crashed out of the FA Cup in the First Round, but what went wrong again for SUFC?

Short on bodies

Neil Cox admitted to the press prior to the tie on Sunday that it was purely a case of who was ‘fit to play’ rather than tactical or formation dilemmas as isolation periods ended. The surprise start was that of Dunnwald-Turan, with 90 minutes perhaps a little too ambitious for Kevin Van Veen and Olufela Olomola as the pair were eased into the action after lengthy spells on the side-lines.

Turan should and could have done better when the opportunities presented themselves across the 90 minutes. He, like Jarvis, has lacked that killer instinct in front of goal that can be the difference in tight affairs at this level. Having both van Veen and Olomola available, with support from McAtee is hopefully a sign that things can begin to turn around.

Alex Gilliead again proved his desire and want to carry forward the on Sunday. Like a true captain should, he has great ability to push the team up the pitch and draw fouls in dangerous areas, for sure Scunthorpe best player so far this season.

In defence lies the problem – no experience, no passion and no communication once again evident in the loss to the Moors. Cordner was rash and a yard off the pace for both of his fouls which led to his dismissal and even though Jacob Bedeau lay on the floor at full time after the whistle had blown, he knows he must do better at commanding the back line. Onariase must come in for Cordner in these upcoming fixtures and prove why he should keep a place in this ever-changing backline.

Junior Brown’s rash challenge inside the first 5 minutes showed clearly that he has been without football for the last 7-8 months. We all know there is a player in there, but Brown looked tired and really sluggish when in possession.

As a whole, it’s hard to find positives. Scunthorpe were beaten by the better side and individual errors continue to be our Achilles heel. We are slow to react to second balls, the fundamental basics of being a footballer spring to mind. Lazy in possession, and even a willingness to grab the game by the scruff of the neck seems to be missing. Scunthorpe must improve if we are to pull away from the relegation zone.

What to do? 

Scrap the 5’s or the 3’s. Get back to a 4-4-2 and play with more willingness and passion for me. We all know Cox has had it tough, but he needs to realise who is really up for this battle and who isn’t.

McAtee looked much improved and needs to kick on with Kev nearing that full fitness mark. It’s about playing for each other, the Iron can’t afford to let this losing streak stretch on much further.

This side has bundles and bundles of quality and no way should we be in and around the bottom two of this division and it’s time to kick on to shape this season for me.

The backline needs solidity and unfortunately red cards, injuries and a COVID outbreak don’t help, but a back 4 needs time to learn how to play together and what is expected of each other.

It’s a foundation to build off and we know the attacking capabilities we have in Eisa, Kev, McAtee and Gillead. Howard is a strong addition, but needs to help these young lads through and build something to work with going forward.

What next?

Mansfield are next in the EFL Trophy and becomes a game we must use for fitness given the interest most clubs show the competition. It provides a vital chance to give game time to those needing it and potentially a change to stake a claim and keep the shirt heading into Saturday’s game at Oldham.

Moving onto Saturday, it’s a must win. Oldham like us have started poorly despite a late win at Bolton a few weeks ago. I expect Cox to go all out on Saturday afternoon and really push for a much needed 3 points. It’s winnable, but we must approach it correctly. McAtee and Kev from the start would be a plus and a late winner would get us all smiling.

I for one, won’t give up on this side yet. We knew we were in for a ride, I just hope it doesn’t go South.