Hope backs Wilcox for permanent Iron gig

Former Iron captain Chris Hope hopes Russ Wilcox is appointed permanent manager at the Sands Venue Stadium this summer.

Wilcox has been interim boss since the departure of Paul Hurst in January and is widely expected to be confirmed on a permanent basis, with chairman Peter Swann recently stating there are no plans to appoint anybody else.

If appointed, it would be Wilcox second stint in the hot seat having led the Iron to promotion from League Two in 2014 and former team mate Hope insists it would be a good move for the club as they look to develop and integrate their young talent.

He told Iron Bru: “I’m obviously going to be biased, but I think I can sort of break away from that and just look at the man himself. He’s got the experience of getting a promotion, which I think is crucial. He’s been there done it as a player and as manager.

“When he’s been out of management, he’s done scouting so he has had his finger on the pulse. Sometimes you see managers get sacked and have a bit of a sabbatical, but Russ has never really had a break from it which is good because he knows the players. His knowledge is fantastic.

“Hopefully he gets the opportunity. I’m sure he will do a good job. Football management these days is difficult and you are under pressure as soon as that that first ball starts rolling, but he’s a man who could take that on board. He had a fantastic run with the team and I think if you speak to lads who’ve played for him, they like Russ. He’s honest and and he’s up front with them.”

“I’d like to see him get an opportunity and to get his teeth into it. Will he get a promotion in his first season? Who knows. Hopefully he will and I’m sure he’ll be thinking that way, but if he doesn’t as long as the club’s going in the right direction I think that’s what we’ve got to look at here.” 

“Sometimes it takes a season or two just to get traction and get things moving in the right direction. You can’t be at the top of League and have success every year. Sometimes you’ve got to take a backward step and look at the big picture.

With the Iron expected to promote a number of players from the development squad, Hope claimed Wilcox was the ideal candidate to help integrate them with the first team having worked with them closely over the past 18 months.

“He knows the younger lads inside out. If he doesn’t think they are up to it, he’s not going to put them in that team.

“I think stability is the main thing here. If you give him the opportunity to bed in these lads and you might reap the benefits of it.

“I think you need your experience, but I think it could be exciting. You are hungry at that age and you want to prove yourself. These players coming in are going to be hungry, going to want to impress, work hard and have great attitudes.

“If you can balance that with good players and experience, it could be exciting for the club.”

“Recruitment is going to be crucial, but one thing that might go in Scunthorpe’s favour is that because of the financial aspects of the Coronavirus there are going to be a lot of lads out of contract that aren’t going to be getting the money they want and are going to have to take a cut in wages so Russ and Turny (Lee Turnbull) might have a bigger pool to choose from.

“If you can get one or two of the right ones, it can make a huge difference. I’m sure they’ve done their homework.”

Our podcast with Chris Hope will be available soon

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