OPINION: Taking stock

Amid frustrations at away performances Alex Cole (@alex_scunny) takes stock of the Iron’s current position.

Can we all take a breather please?

Let me start by addressing the obvious frustrations surrounding the Iron – the away performances and subsequent form.

Yes, its not great. Yes, it could be better and yes, we could be more streetwise in the way we approach these away games. But it doesn’t mean the players don’t care, it doesn’t mean the manager isn’t good enough, and it certainly doesn’t mean we won’t achieve our goals this season.

As we sit here after 18 games on 34 points, this gives us a points per game (PPG) return of 1.88. If you spread that over the course of a 46-game season it gives us a very healthy looking 86 points.

Admittedly, history suggests that tally probably won’t be enough to go up as Champions. What it will do however, is almost definitely place us in the top three which would guarantee us a home semi final playoff game, and depending on if we make the final and who were up against, the final may well also be played at home.

Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the away form, the fact we’re averaging a 1.88 PPG return is bloody impressive. What it should also tell us, is that a small improvement in the consistency of away performances, coupled with our outstanding home form will see us creep up towards a 2 PPG return. This amount should surely be enough to have a champions medal around our neck come April.

There must also be some context applied to the opponents we have played away. Tamworth (1st), Chorley (5th), Alfreton (6th), Curzon Ashton (7th), Boston Utd (8th), Banbury (14th), Chester (16th – have 3 games in hand and will be right up there) ,Kings Lynn (19th) and Rushall Olympic (21st).

Ass is stands, we have played 4 of the bottom 12 away from home winning 2 and drawing 2. This compared to playing 5 of the top 8 where we have won 1, drawn 3 and lost 1. Whilst improvement is certainly required, it is a pretty respectable return.

I get it though. I get the frustrations. I’m frustrated with the away showings too, but it’s important that we do not go into crisis mode after every defeat away. We’re a big fish in a small pond, and the pressure to win every game is unrealistic.

After the last five years, we have no right to go into every game demanding a win and the sooner we realise teams are out to get us away from home, the better.

“Why can’t we play like we do at home, away from home”, is often banded about on social media after away games. Away from home, we often tight bobbly pitches, with a larger turnout than usual from home fans who are typically placed right on top of us. That, tied in with the fact everyone wants to beat an ex-Championship side means teams get right in our faces and don’t allow us to play at all.

At home, teams sit in and try make it as compact as possible for us. However, eventually our quality shines through, and we can often blitz teams in a matter of minutes.

I’ll offer a small opinion on how we can improve away from home and that is letting the home team dictate things. I think at times we’re too open and set in our ways of passing it through the thirds, whereas I think we’d find better joy sitting in at times and setting up for counters.

There is no denying Danny Whitehall struggles at times in away games, and I think Danny Elliott would be better suited with his movement and pace to get in behind and hurt teams on the break.

Regardless, we’re not a million miles away from being an absolute powerhouse at this level. We are, as we’ve shown throughout this season, a very good team and one that has too much for most teams at this level.

The style of play at home is one that can only be described as swashbuckling. Glanford Park is buzzing once again and it’s a fantastic place to be on a match-day, with 90 minutes of pure entertainment. Let’s not flip it on its head every time we suffer an away defeat.

This manager cares, the players care and I’ve seen enough from both this season to trust them implicitly to get the job done come April. The last time I checked, promotions aren’t handed out in November.

This is the most connected I’ve felt in a long time to a management team, and a group of players who you can tell embrace being apart of the Football Club and duly, the pressures that come with that.  After the last 5 years, isn’t it great to have that sense of feeling again?

Let’s not forgot that our Football club has been through the absolute ringer this past year, so much so that what happened on the pitch was very much secondary.

It’s thanks to Michelle Harness and co that, on the week a contract has been exchanged so we can call Glanford Park HOME again, we have a bright future to look forward too. We can all feel safe in the knowledge that the club is in the hands of good, capable people that care.

The future of Scunthorpe United Football Club is bright. Let’s not lose sight of that because we’re a little bit inconsistent away from home. This is OUR club, and if we stand United as we have throughout the last year, we may well have something to celebrate come April.

Up The Iron


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