Scunthorpe manager Russ Wilcox praised his summer recruits for seamlessly settling into the United set-up.After finishing the Iron’s final pre-season fixture with a 3-1 win over a youthful Leicester City side, the boss hailed the impact of Jennison Myrie-Williams, Neal Bishop, Lyle Taylor and last week’s two defensive additions.
“With Miguel Llera and Miles Addison, we now have competition for places all over the pitch,” Wilcox told The Iron Player, explaining the reasoning behind bringing in the centre-backs.
“We’ve brought the two lads in to get the League One experience out there for the first half of the campaign and to see how the other lads develop by playing with them. Both are comfortable on the ball and that’s fitting to us because I want us to play more football and we have to in this division.
“The pair of them had good games, but there wasn’t a bad performance against Leicester, everyone played really well.”
Two of the three goals against the Foxes were scored by summer signings, Llera and Lyle Taylor, with the other coming from a set up by the ex-Sheffield United forward.
Wilcox continued: “I was pleased to see Miguel score. We hope he can contribute with a few goals.
“He has scored ten in 71 Championship games for Sheffield Wednesday in the last two seasons, which is a good return for a centre-half. He was excellent in both boxes (on Saturday).
“I’m delighted Lyle scored too. He’s played really well in pre-season and his last three performances show he’s getting up to speed.
“Lyle is a striker who can do it all- he can be the link-up man, the lone striker, play in a front pairing, run in behind, he just needed a goal and what a fantastic team move it was too, coupled with an outstanding finish.
“The new lads have settled in great and it was exactly what I expected. They’ve come to a group where everybody is pushing in the right direction, everybody is welcoming and it’s been a breeze for those who have stepped into the group.”
The final minutes before kick-off on Saturday saw a sudden downpour of rain, soaking the Glanford Park surface and it worked in the home side’s advantage, as the Claret and Blue fizzed the ball to one another on the floor in a game played at an extremely fast tempo. Wilcox was pleased to see the hard work on the training ground paying dividends.
“I know it was only a friendly but our ball retention was one of the most pleasing aspects,” he added.
“We’ve worked hard on that in pre-season because as long as you have the ball, the opposition cannot score and it frustrates them. It won’t work all the time next year but it’s an improvement from last year as we gave it away cheaply at times and that just gives them more opportunities to score.”
With less than a week until the new Sky Bet League One season gets under way at Swindon, the Glanford Park boss is confident his side are well prepared for their return to the third tier of English football.
“You never really know where you are at, but I feel like we are ready. We have certainly had some good workouts, they have all been hard-fought games.
“Two out of the three goals on Saturday were outstanding moves and the other was down to great delivery by Gary McSheffrey. We’ll never know how ready we are until next Saturday.”
The Foxes fixture also saw the Iron tinker with the formation at half-time, reverting to a 4-3-3 formation, something fans can expect to see throughout the 2014/15 campaign.
He said: “We have to be flexible and the Leicester match showed we are. Last season our philosophy tended to be that we had the biggest and best squad in League Two and we could roll out a side in a 4-4-2 formation each week.
“Nine times out of ten we had better players but this year that won’t be the case, there’s some powerful, strong squads in this league and we have to be flexible and adaptable and it’s given me food for thought today as we played extremely well in both systems.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, and others, on The Iron Player.