United boss Russ Wilcox has paid tribute to a ‘team effort’ after equalling a 125-year Football League record by securing a 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road on Tuesday night.That result saw Wilcox match the longest unbeaten run by a manager from the start of their reign, after United’s undefeated sequence was stretched to 23 games to move him level with Preston North End’s William Suddel – who achieved the same feat during the 1888/1889 season.
The fact Suddel’s run came at the start of the inaugural Football League season as the Lilywhites lifted the maiden First Division Championship puts the scale of Wilcox’s achievements into perspective, and was justifiably recognised by the League Manager’s Association following United’s midweek exploits.
However, Wilcox remained eager to deflect such praise elsewhere, and told The Iron Player: “It’s obviously pleasing, but I’ve said all along it’s not about myself and it remains that way.
“I’m just the man in charge. There’s hundreds of cogs which have to work for us to achieve what we’ve achieved, so it’s down to the group. That’s not just the players, it’s everybody associated with the football club.
“It’s a massive team effort, with the supporters included in that. It’s so pleasing to do that, but now we have to make sure we get over that line otherwise the record won’t mean a lot as we have to marry that in with promotion.”
The victory over the Robins was made all the sweeter for Wilcox by coinciding with a personal milestone for the former defender, coming on the same day he turned 50.
That meant multiple causes for celebration, but the Hemsworth-born manager added: “I had a little family get-together last Saturday so that was my celebration for my 50th; Tuesday night was all about the group.
“It was all about Scunthorpe United picking up three points, and I was pleased we could do that. It was a difficult game against a team a little bit wounded from their previous match, so to win three on the bounce with three clean sheets at this stage of the season is massive.
“We spoke about the importance of this period, and we’ve tried to embrace it. We don’t want to go into games with fear in our bellies, and we’ve gone out there and expressed ourselves. I’m so pleased with the
The win in Gloucestershire saw the Iron rack up their third successive maximum haul, leaving them seven points clear of fourth-placed Fleetwood Town with just seven matches of the regular season now remaining as they look to complete a return to League One at the first time of asking.
Next up for United is the visit of Wycombe Wanderers to Glanford Park on Saturday, and Wilcox added: “I said to players his morning [Thursday], ‘can we win four on the bounce?’.
“We’ve not done that all season, so that’s a little target. It’s important to win to keep this run going, and to keep us in the top three.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, Gary McSheffrey and Niall Canavan on The Iron Player.