The Iron have been installed as the outright favourites to secure promotion from League Two in 2019/20.
The bookmakers expect them to put the disappointment of last season’s relegation from League One behind them and bounce straight back up to the third tier of English football.
Scunthorpe have been handed a comfortable start to the campaign, as they face relatively unheralded opposition in their first five fixtures, and that will give an indication as to whether the bookies are correct in their estimations. There will be a great deal of pressure on Paul Hurst’s shoulders, as Scunthorpe really should dominate this division.
Top football betting sites like sportsbeting.ag are offering League Two odds and they make the Iron the clear favourites to secure promotion.
They are priced at anywhere between 15/8 and 23/10, leaving them ahead of Plymouth, Bradford City, Mansfield and Salford City in the betting. It is interesting to note that Scunthorpe are not the favourites to win the division, as that honour goes to Salford. But everyone believes Scunthorpe have a great chance of being in the mix at the end of the campaign.
Four teams go up – the top three teams in the league and the winner of the playoffs – so there are plenty of opportunities to secure promotion. Scunthorpe are one of the biggest clubs in this division and they need to prove it on the pitch. The 2018/19 campaign was a disaster that few could have predicted, and confidence could be low after they lost four of their final five games. Yet they now have a great chance to wipe the slate clean and begin afresh.
The opening game sees them host Swindon Town. They also host Crawley Town in their first five fixtures, while they must travel to Cheltenham, Cambridge and Macclesfield. Those are the sort of teams that the Iron really should be beating if they harbour ambitions of yo-yoing straight back up to League One. It is a long old season, but a strong start would lift the club and give everyone a renewed sense of optimism.
There is plenty of work to do in the transfer market before then. Andy Butler is returning to north Lincolnshire for another stint at the club, but otherwise the club has been quiet. We are just a couple of weeks away from pre-season training and they need to trim a few players from the wage bill, while strengthening in key areas.
The goalkeeping situation is pressing, as injuries to Rory Watson and Matt Gilks derailed the Iron’s survival bid last season. Jak Alnwick had a decent loan spell, but he remains error prone and some fans would be loathe to see him return on a permanent basis.
Another key area that needs to be addressed is the striking department. Lee Novak was the pick of the bunch for Scunthorpe last season, but Kyle Wooton, Kevin van Veen and Olufela Olomola struggled. Gary Hooper could be an interesting signing if the Iron are keen on bringing more former stars back to the club.
Hurst has not yet declared the club’s targets for the season, as he needs to wait and see what sort of squad he has at his disposal first. Right now it lacks balance, and fans will be keen to see a busy summer in the market.
Jordan Clarke could give the club a boost by returning from injury, while Lewis Butroid could nail down the left-back berth, but it is time to break up the defensive pairing of Rory McArdle and Cameron Burgess. Butler’s arrival should help, and Harrison McGahey could enjoy more games in his preferred position.
The club would do well to keep hold of Matthew Lund and Funso Ojo, while Adam Hammill should enjoy pitting his wits against more limited League Two defences. But reinforcements are needed in midfield and attack, and it could be an intriguing summer for Iron fans ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.