On Tuesday afternoon, just five hours before kick-off, United confirmed they had re-signed striker James Alabi on loan from Stoke City.Alabi joins United for his second loan spell at the club after a successful period last season, which saw him score on his debut.
Now Russ Wilcox has brought the 19-year-old back to the club in the hope that he can give them another dimension at the top end of the park as we near the business end of the season.
Wilcox told The Iron Player: “We just need that plan B up front.
“Since Deon Burton has come out of the team (though injury) it has been difficult sometimes.
“Teams have pressed us and we have had to go back to front."
“We did that during the first half against Southend but we also got in down the sides as well and that benefited us,” he continued.
“He is another option and we are hoping that he is a year further on from his development than what he was last year when we had him.
“We are in a league lower so you are hoping he can do a good job for us.
“He did well for us (last year).”
The striker, who turned 19 in November, made nine substitute appearances for the Iron last season and this year he has previously had two loan spells at Mansfield and Forest Green Rovers respectively.
Alabi was sent off on in his only game for the Stags – a 3-0 defeat to Southend – while he didn’t score in his two appearances over the Christmas period for Forest Green.
Nevertheless Wilcox still feels that he has a lot to offer and he sees the young striker as a valued option to have within the ranks at this time of the season.
“He is still young and he is still developing,” the Iron boss said.
“They are really pleased with him at Stoke – we have watched him a couple of times and we have had good reports back from them."
“I think he is on the verge of signing a new two and a half year deal with them which shows you the plans they have for him there,” he continued.
“I think that is important.
“He is still learning the game and I think that is really important.
“There will be parts of his game that aren’t polished but he is big and powerful.”
Wilcox added: “He is powerful in his running not just in his presence.
“He just gives us that other option and by not knowing how far away Deon was we couldn’t afford to go into this period of the season without another fit striker on board.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, Gary McSheffrey and Matt Sparrow on The Iron Player.