If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks he’s got an imbalanced and underachieving squad to re-shape this Summer he should be thankful he’s not at the helm at Glanford Park. With over thirty players on the books, players out contract, long term injuries and an Under 23 team to build the task ahead of the club this Summer is a big one. Here is CambsIron’s overview of the squad going into the close season….
Jak Alnwick – Seldom does his name get mentioned without the phrase ‘he’s a good shot stopper’ being in the same sentence. However, you need more from a Goalkeeper e.g. communication, presence, authority and ability to play when the sun is out. Alnwick needs sending back to Glasgow (cap in hand). If the Iron pay the muted ‘six figure sum’ transfer fee it will mark a dismal start to the summer business.
Rory Watson – Season curtailed by injury before it really got started, Watson is still living off his reputation of being a good prospect. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but it would be a big risk installing him as No.1 with a promotion push needed.
Jordan Clarke – ‘One of the best League 1 right backs on his day’, unfortunately his days have been few and far between in the last 18 months. In a tight squad Clarke simply isn’t available for selection enough and is probably on a healthy weekly wage. Unfortunately its time to thank Jordan for his service and part company.
Tony McMahon – Displayed those rare characteristics of leadership and determination during his loan spell. A fiery right back with excellent delivery from wide areas. Not the quickest, but if fit he is a good option for a 12 month deal. A deal with Oxford should be easy to strike and would suit all parties.
Quite simply left back has been a nightmare position all season. The loanees Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Tom Pearce have shown promise going forward but serious technical and mental frailties when defending, especially behind the infamous midfield diamond. Neither will want to stay, neither are really wanted.
Rory McArdle – McArdle has 12 months left on his deal, but it has to be best for all parties if he moves on. You can’t really fault his effort, but he has struggled for the vast majority of his time at Glanford Park. A serious liability with the ball at his feet, a series of managers have been too loyal.
Cameron Burgess – Again has time on his deal, but has endured a wretched season at the heart of the defence and has questionable commitment levels. Rumoured to be on a top wage, the fans and potentially the club will want to move him on.
Byron Webster – Arrived in January to a great fanfare but had wait a long time for his opportunity. Some would say too long. Hasn’t excelled, but should be more than good enough in League 2 and the Iron need to build around some existing players.
A beneficiary of relegation should be Harrison McGahey, who will likely be a starting centre back next season. A good age and possesses the necessary physical and technical attributes to push on.
Charlie Goode – Has impressed on loan at Northampton despite playing right back. Will probably want to move on and most fans wouldn’t loose too much sleep if his contract wasn’t renewed. Hasn’t markedly improved during his time at the club, but gives 100%, the fans will wish him well.
A centre midfield of Matt Lund and Funso Ojo should have way too much for League 2 – but will Funso fancy it (unlikely) and will Lund’s Quaver like knees hold up? With James Perch and Clayton Lewis waiting in the wings as unappetising cover options this is a key call the club need to get right. A combative, energetic and committed midfield leader is required.
For a couple of weeks in January the performances of Levi Sutton offered a ray of light in a dismal season. However, there are still big question marks as to whether Sutton is up to the job. Sutton’s versatility and likely cheap wage probably offers enough encouragement to give him one more year.
James Horsfield, James Perch and Clayton Lewis all need moving on. They are either not good enough or lack the application and character required. Trying to sell or release James Perch to a new club will be easier said than done. Lewis deserves plaudits for his patience and professionalism but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out for him. New Zealand or playing in the Scunthorpe U23’s on a Tuesday afternoon? I know where I’d rather be….
By all accounts Josh Morris has probably already cleaned out his locker. He provided hope for the fans when he returned from injury, but it was too little too late. A superb player on his day, his goals and assists supported two excellent League 1 campaigns. Injuries probably cost Scunthorpe a six figure cash-in fee in January before his contract ran down.
All Scunthorpe fans must hope Ryan Colclough returns from serious injury. A massive miss along with Morris this season and should excel at League 2 level.
A bit of a show pony, but Adam Hammill should be comfortable in League 2 and will benefit from a hard pre-season, however, next term there needs to be more application and defensive commitment to match his offensive ability. Yasin Ben-El-Mhanni made no impact and was McCall’s desperate attempt to bring in more creativity and width to the midfield. A damning indictment that he didn’t make an impact given the lack of options at the club.
George Thomas will return to Leicester City, with Jordan Hallam ready to step into his shoes if Scunthorpe choose to deploy an attacking centre midfielder. How to utilise Thomas to his full potential was a challenge for all three managers this season and following key injuries in wide areas this conundrum played a big part in the introduction and overuse of the midfield diamond. Difficult to see how Hallam fits in if Scunthorpe play two out and out strikers next season, but Hallam is one to keep and nurture.
Despite fitness concerns at the end of the season Lee Novak has surprised with his goals return this season especially considering the quality of the supply line coming from midfield and wide areas. From fourth choice striker in 2017/18, to first name of the team sheet for much of this season. The relegation will hurt him more than most.
Understandably, few would’ve bet on Kyle Wootton having played 26 games this season and him already having a crisp new contract in his back pocket. Perhaps this shows how bad the season has been. Will still be at the club next season, but he’s unlikely to steer the club beyond the lower reaches of League 2.
Kevin Van Veen’s return sparked excitement amongst some fans, but right now its looking like a question of ‘Why?’. A Swann pick to appease the fans in January perhaps? Most people are bored of talking about his technical quality, it will be ‘now or never’ for Kevin next season and he will likely need to wait for his opportunity.
Olufela Olomola should be rubbing his hands ahead of next season, League 2 should be his level. A big opportunity, if he’s patient.
2019/20 Squad (Inc U23)
GK: New signing (No.1), Watson, Kelsey
RB: McMahon, Rowe
LB: New signing, Butroid
CB: Webster, McGahey, New signing, Bedeau
CM: Lund, Ojo, New signing, New signing, Sutton, Pugh
AM: Colclough, Hammill, New signing, Dales, Hallam
CF: New signing, Novak, Van Veen, Olomola, Wootton
Flatt, Clarke, Goode, Horsfield, Morris, Ben El-Mhanni, Hornshaw
McArdle, Burgess, Lewis, Perch