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Club News

MATT'S REWARD

23 April 2014

Following the 1-0 Bank Holiday Monday victory over Oxford United, Iron boss Russ Wilcox has hailed the impact and commitment of the club’s fans and players alike.

Matt Sparrow’s early opener was enough to hand United a vital three points as the race for automatic promotion from Sky Bet League Two nears an end.

And Wilcox was full of praise after what was a hard fought triumph.

He told The Iron Player: “The fans got behind the team very well.

“There were a few anxious moments where you’re asking for a little bit of patience when Oxford had the ball but I don’t think they piled on too much pressure.

“I think it was all about us getting on the front foot and getting in behind them with our front two, who worked ever so hard with the ball and without it.

“Micky Collins has come back in and had an outstanding game. He just sits in little pockets in front of the back four which allows Dave Syers to get forward.

“And for Matthew Sparrow to get the goal, we speak about players being frustrated about not being in the team and all of a sudden today he becomes a hero.

“That’s why it’s important that when you’re not in the team, you do your bits and Matthew got his reward for that.”

Sparrow’s goal was his third of the season having previously netted in the home fixtures against Mansfield and Southend.

The 32-year-old was asked to play on the right wing as opposed to his usual central role but Wilcox believes he coped well.

“He must have played 100 games on that right hand side but he’s certainly different to Hakeeb (Adelakun),” he continued.

“He plays more tucked in which helped us pass the ball better. He tucked off the line and gave us that little 3v2 in there which allowed Eddie (Nolan) to bomb on and make up the width.

“He’s an experienced player and I think that was behind my thoughts, to get some experience out there.

“Hakeeb is a young boy, he was playing in the youth team six months ago and he’s done fantastically well since then. His development has been outstanding but I just thought that it was a day for men.”

As well as the addition of Michael Collins to the starting line-up, Dutch winger Etienne Esajas made an appearance on the bench in place of Matt Godden.

And Wilcox explained that that decision was simply to give him more choice on the flanks, should he have been forced into any substitutions during the game.

Wilcox added: “I had Terry (Hawkridge) and Matthew on the pitch and Hakeeb to come on but I included Etienne for if I needed another extra wide man.

“I already had two strikers on the bench in Paul Hayes and Deon (Burton) so I just wanted to add another wide man in case I needed him for a set play.

“Etienne can also pop up with a goal and that’s what my thoughts were there.”

See much more from Russ Wilcox, Matt Sparrow and Michael Collins on The Iron Player.

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