The Iron are back in action at Glanford Park as they welcome newly promoted Portsmouth on Saturday.
Scunthorpe will be hoping to build upon their recent 1-0 victory away at local rivals Doncaster Rovers last Sunday, while Pompey head into the fixture on the back of a 4-1 thrashing over Fleetwood Town.
Graham Alexander has a fresh injury worry ahead of the game, after Charlie Goode sustained a knock to his ankle in a behind-closed-doors friendly and is expected to be unavailable. Luke Williams and Andrew Crofts remain sidelined, alongside Jonny Margetts, who saw a specialist about his injury on Thursday.
The Iron boss is expected to name a similar lineup to the one that saw off Doncaster last weekend. Jordan Clarke returned to the side in the place of Levi Sutton at right-back and Alexander is likely to stick with Clarke, given his experience and ability at League One level. Duane Holmes could be replaced in midfield, after he failed to impress against Rovers.
United have struggled to break teams down at home so far this season, so they will be looking to take the game to Pompey and put them under pressure. As good as Scunthorpe’s central midfielders have been this season, it is important that they get on the ball and help out playmaker Josh Morris in creating more opportunities for the forwards. Striker Lee Novak will be hoping to build upon his impressive performance at the Keepmoat last weekend, after registering his first goal for the Iron in the local derby.
Portsmouth Team News
Pompey have had an average start to the season, recording just three victories in their eight matches so far, despite being registered as one of the pre-season favourites for promotion. Portsmouth were promoted as League Two Champions, after securing the title on the last day of the campaign.
Manager Paul Cook left to join Wigan Athletic at the beginning of this summer and was replaced by the vastly experienced Kenny Jackett.
Former Iron loanee Drew Talbot could face his former side in the fixture. Talbot played just three times for United during his short time on loan from Sheffield Wednesday back in 2007. The 31-year-old played either up front or on the wing during his early days, but now operates at right-back.
Brett Pitman will play, despite suffering a broken nose against Fleetwood last weekend, in a game where he also got on the scoresheet twice. Left-back Damien McCrory is set to miss out, and he is expected to be replaced by Dion Donohue. Milan Lalkovic and Jack Whatmough remain absentees for Jackett’s side.
The Pompey boss is expecting a tough game on Saturday, but insists that he will set his team up to go out and win the game.
Jackett said, “Scunthorpe are hard-working and are an established League One team. They’ll be a force again this term. I’m sure they’ll be hard to beat on Saturday as they have been all season, but – while respecting them – we won’t change our approach. We always set out to try to win the game and our pattern has to be consistent from one match to the next.”
The danger man of the Portsmouth side is Brett Pitman, who joined in the summer from Ipswich Town. The Pompey captain has scored goals everywhere he has been and has already registered six goals to his name in his short time with the club. Pitman is playing in a role behind the striker, picking up pockets between the opponents midfield and defence; he is a real threat in front of goal and should be marked closely.
Scunthorpe have a decent recent record against Portsmouth, winning three matches in a row against their opponents, despite failing to win in their three previous encounters before that.
In the 2010/11 season, the two sides met in the Championship and Portsmouth recorded a 2-0 home victory, before then drawing 1-1 at Glanford Park. In 2012, the Iron were beaten once again at Fratton Park, but then secured their first win over Pompey in 33 years in a 2-1 home victory later that campaign. United then registered another 2-1 win over Portsmouth in a League Two clash, following the relegation of both clubs in the previous season. The last encounter between the two sides came in 2014, with the Iron running out 5-1 victors at Glanford Park.
Scunthorpe will be hoping to secure their fourth win in a row over Pompey and continue moving up the league table on Saturday.