The Iron head to Bury looking for their third win in a row and with the hope of maintaining their unbeaten league start this weekend.
Scunthorpe come into the fixture on the back of a 3-1 Checkatrade Trophy win over Sunderland Under-21s on Tuesday and a convincing 4-0 victory away at Plymouth Argyle last weekend. As for Bury, they drew 0-0 away at local rivals Rochdale on Saturday. Unlike the Iron, the Shakers did not play in the cup in midweek, so they come into the match the fresher of the two sides.
Graham Alexander’s team head into the game full of confidence, and the United manager has an almost fully fit squad to select the from. The only players to miss out will be Jonny Margetts and Luke Williams, who are both still struggling with injuries. Iron youngsters Kyle Wooton and Lewis Butroid have both gone out on loan deals, so they are no longer in first team contention.
A number of changes are likely to be made from the side that faced Sunderland, after Alexander made nine alterations from the team that beat Plymouth. Jordan Clarke and Kevin van Veen both played the full 90 minutes in midweek on their return from injuries, with the latter getting on the scoresheet.
Experienced keeper Matt Gilks will start in goal, replacing young Rory Watson. Should Clarke be fit enough to play a further 90 minutes, he will surely maintain his place at right-back, ahead of Levi Sutton, who has recently proved to be an able deputy. Skipper Rory McArdle and Murray Wallace will come in for Charlie Goode and Cameron Burgess at centre-half, with Conor Townsend returning at left-back.
The excellent Funso Ojo should come back into the starting lineup in midfield, alongside Neal Bishop, whose performances have improved over the last couple of league matches. The Iron boss has the tough choice of which attacking midfielders to opt for, with one of Josh Morris, Hakeeb Adelakun or Duane Holmes likely to miss out. Each of those men are in good form, but going by recent selections, Holmes will probably be the one left having to make an impact from the bench.
Lee Novak joined on deadline-day from Charlton to bolster the Iron’s striking options; he was also a transfer target for Bury on the final day. The forward will more than likely start on the bench, but may be called upon to make his debut against his old boss Lee Clark at some point in the afternoon. Paddy Madden will almost certainly be reinstated into the lineup, after his two goals away at Argyle. Tom Hopper and Van Veen are vying for a starting spot up front with Madden, but Hopper may get the nod after his recent solid performances.
Bury Team News
The Shakers have had a relatively average start to the season, registering just one victory so far, which came on the opening day at home to Walsall.
There has been a massive overhaul at Gigg Lane this summer, with 22 players joining and 23 leaving the club. In a strange situation, Alex Bruce joined the club, scored on his debut, before then leaving for Wigan on deadline-day. 24 goal striker James Vaughan was a huge loss, as he left for Sunderland earlier in the summer. However, the Shakers boss has put a strong squad together, and it may just take time for them to gel.
There are a few former Iron players within the Bury team, who will be hoping to make an appearance against their old side at the weekend.
In goal, former Iron favourite Joe Murphy, will likely be named in the starting lineup. The Irishman played 227 times for United in a five year spell between 2006 and 2011, a time which was one of the most successful periods in the club’s history. The keeper, who signed for Bury permanently this summer after a loan earlier this year, was sent off last week at Rochdale, but has since had his red card rescinded.
Stephen Dawson, who was the Scunthorpe captain for two years, will not play tomorrow due to injury. The midfielder put his body on the line every single game for the Iron, before then moving to Bury earlier this summer – we wish him a speedy recovery.
Jermaine Beckford had a very successful loan spell at Glanford Park, in which he helped the Iron reach the Championship. The striker scored 8 goals in 18 games for Scunthorpe, before then going on to bigger things. Beckford, another new signing for Bury, could prove to be a huge threat for United defence.
Another former Iron loanee, Nicky Ajose, is in line to make an appearance in this fixture. The forward had an unsuccessful time at Scunthorpe, as he failed to score in his 9 matches for the club. Ajose usually gets his name on the scoresheet against the Iron, so he is certainly one to watch.
Lee Clark has a few injuries worries, with defender Craig Jones remaining doubtful, while Jay O’Shea, Eoghan O’Connell, Danny Mayor, Joe Skarz and Tom Headman are all still sidelined through injury. New teenage loan signing Mihai Dobre, from Bournemouth, could be included in Clark’s squad, as could deadline-day arrivals Michael Smith and Josh Laurent.
The danger man of the Bury squad is Chris Maguire, who joined the club from League One rivals Oxford United earlier in the summer. Maguire is a real threat in and around the opponents box, with his skilful feet and eye for goal. The Scotsman scored 17 goals and added a further 12 assists in all competitions last season. He may play either off the wing or in a forward role against the Iron.
Scunthorpe are unbeaten in their last six matches against Bury, winning four of those and drawing the other two.
In the 2013/14 season, the two sides faced each other in League Two, and both of their encounters resulted in 2-2 draws. The Iron met the Shakers two seasons later in League One, when a superb free-kick from Luke Williams helped United to a 2-1 victory at Gigg Lane. Scunthorpe then beat Bury at Glanford Park, with the scoreline ending 2-1. Josh Morris scored a fabulous goal away to the Shakers last season, where the match once again resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Iron. In January of this year, United secured a 3-2 win in the latest encounter between the two sides.
Scunthorpe head to Bury for this tough fixture on Saturday, looking to make a statement and carry on their recent good form.