United midfielder Neal Bishop became the latest Scunthorpe player to enter the treatment room on Tuesday night.He was forced to withdraw midway through the second half after receiving a challenge just above his knee cap which left him with a nasty cut and a lot of swelling.
It was one in which the Scunthorpe manager again had to deliver bad news following his failure to train on Thursday.
“He’s doubtful, you’d have to say that,” Wilcox said.
“If you come off on the Tuesday night, you’re going to be a major doubt for the weekend and that’s the case. He’s not trained today (Thursday) and it’s not looking good. He’s another one to add to the growing list.
“He’s still got a lot of swelling above his cut. I spoke to him yesterday and Daz assessed him yesterday, but he’s not right at the moment. I’ve seen him myself this morning and there’s still swelling there, so he’s a major doubt.”
Six changes were made in preparation for the match against Fleetwood Town, while other changes have been enforced in the other three matches so far this season. Nevertheless, the United boss endeavours to find some uniformity in the squad to try and reap the benefits it did last season.
He said: “Again you’re hoping people – using facts, not excuses – are looking into that.”
“We had consistency last year and that is a key word. I was very fortunate with the group last year, I could roll out anybody I liked with a fully fit squad and a squad full of confidence and belief and a squad also that knows each others game.
“The other night we had Bobby (Olejnik) coming into the building at five o’clock and doesn’t know anybodies name. He arrived to go out and play a game in League One. Luke O’Neill and Billy Kee only had a day with us, so it’s going to take time with these new players. We didn’t have that problem last season.”
He added: “That’s not happened so far this season. You’ve got to throw into that mix the two goalkeepers. Neither of them missed a day’s training last season and now it looks like they’re both going to miss a couple of months. It’s a difficult period, but we must stay positive.”
Consistency – as the Scunthorpe manager stated – is a key word and it is exactly consistency which saw them emerge from League Two at the right end at the first time of asking; something that Wilcox will search to find.
“If your consistency is there, you can do the work on the training ground based around the eleven you are going to select,” he said.
“We’ve not been able to do that so far. There have always been injuries to key players. We haven’t been able to do as much shape work on the training ground or as much phases of play with the back four because I’ve not really known the team until the last minute.
“It’s difficult, but that’s football. It throws up different challenges – for me as a manager and for them as players. We’re not even two weeks into the new season yet, but there have been lots and lots of challenges.”
He added: “We’ve got those challenges and we will work very hard to overcome them.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, and others, on The Iron Player.