Last night’s entertaining home win over close rivals Bradford City was further evidence of the welcome improvements made by Neil Cox and his team, in a relatively short space of time.
Shrewd January additions, coupled with key men returning from injury has helped shrug off any lingering doubts that the Iron may be dragged into a late relegation battle.
Sitting somewhat pretty in 16th position, Scunthorpe are now thirteen points above the relegation places and look to have all but secured their Football League status for next season.
Following the Iron’s upturn in form, their odds for relegation have drifted to a huge 66/1, with local rivals Grimsby Town long odds on favourites for the drop at 1/12 – and you can take advantage of such odds with the added bonus of a Coral promo code 2021.
With only ten games to go until the summer months swing round once again, it is potentially time for the club to begin making decisions as to who stays and who goes for the 2021/22 campaign.
With funds short and a youthful core running through this Iron side, it would be nice to see a foundation being built and key players tied down to longer deals – but in the current climate, that feat seems easier said than done.
With so many players out of contract in June, it looks set to be a busy summer and there is the potential for much of the squad to be heading for the exit door unless new deals are agreed or clauses unbeknown to supporters are triggered.
Alex Gilliead, who surely stakes a claim for player of the season, is one such player fans would like to see extend his stay. But at only 25 and possessing the undisputed quality to play at a higher level, it may be a case of cherishing his last few months in an Iron shirt before the curtain closes on his time at the Sands Venue.
The future of Talisman and fan-favourite Kevin van Veen is also up in the air. He has suffered his worst injury hit campaign since returning to the club back in 2019 and posses more than enough quality in the division, but with his contract running down and given he is the reportedly the highest earner, it may well be a case of sadly closing the book on his second chapter with the club.
Ex-Reading midfielder Jem Karacan has provided guile in the middle of the park and with fitness now proven, it would be a real shame if the club could not convince him to stay for a further year. His arrival allowed young Alfie Beestin to be more attack-minded since the start of the year with key goals against Cambridge and Southend in recent weeks showing why he was rewarded with a new deal back in December 2020.
Mark Howard is undoubtedly an improvement on Rory Watson and has racked up an impressive number of clean sheets since his implementation into Neil Cox’s starting eleven, however he is not without his faults and at 34, the Iron could be tempted to look elsewhere for the number one spot next season.
Defensively, Scunthorpe do have a solid base to build from. George Taft was brought in superbly on Deadline Day from fellow League Two side Bolton Wanderers and has shown more than enough quality since his arrival despite being sidelined in recent weeks. Manny Onariase, another fantastic piece of business, is tied down beyond the summer and with Taft alongside him I feel its a partnership that could blossom if given chance next year.
Abo Eisa and Devarn Green linked up superbly at times last night and both possess quality to hurt teams in League Two, but should teams come sniffing with improved deals, it may be hard to tempt them to stay at the club for a further season.
Neil Cox deserves credit for the job he has performed in his first season as boss and belief is starting to build that the good times will return if he is given the time and resources he needs to succeed. It will be a superb moment when he finally gets to witness Iron fans chanting his name on the terraces after the prolonged period of no spectators permitted into Glanford Park.
A deserved ten day lay off is now in full swing, before attention turns to the Crawley Town home tie on Good Friday. The break provides rest and recuperation for a team that has played 10 games in just 32 days – a heavy schedule to say the least.
But as the old saying goes, there is to be no rest for the wicked and with key decisions to be made, I’d imagine talks will begin to be made away from the football pitch sooner rather than later.