A number of Iron players are currently enjoying loan spells away from Glanford Park.
Of those, the most high profile is Michael Collins, who recently joined AFC Wimbledon on a deal until the end of the season. Since linking up with the Dons, the midfielder has started three times, and said: “The ultimate thing is I wanted to play football.
“I’m 27 and I’ve had a few injuries in the last few years, so when you have been out for so long and you are fit it’s hard to sit and watch. From a personal viewpoint when you have missed as much football as I have through injury sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish and get out and play games.”
The Halifax-born Collins had started the season as a regular in the Iron starting line-up, but suffered an injury in the 3-2 defeat against – ironically – AFC Wimbledon at the end of August.
Although he returned to fitness with United in November, the impressive form of Dave Syers and Sean McAllister restricted his first team opportunities, leading to the temporary switch to Kingsmeadow.
As part of the deal, United have a recall clause on Collins once the first 28 days have expired, and the midfielder added: “I still want Scunthorpe to be promoted and I want them to do well.
“When the lads are playing well, they need to be rewarded. Regardless of your stature, even with me being captain, I understood your shirt isn't guaranteed.”
Two other players who also ventured elsewhere in search of regular football as they step up their fitness are Matt Godden and Connor Jennings.
The duo each enjoyed successful loan deals earlier in the campaign at Dartford and Macclesfield respectively, only to both suffer injuries which halted their progress towards securing a place in the thoughts of United manager Russ Wilcox.
Towards the end of February Godden joined Tamworth, and he has continued where he left off by netting three goals in his first three matches for the Lambs.
The 22-year-old is determined to use the move as a springboard for future success, and said: “I want to earn a new deal at Scunthorpe. It's a club that is going places.
“I would like to be a part of that and I am looking to the future but we will see what happens.”
Jennings, meanwhile, made his Grimsby debut in their 2-0 win over Salisbury last weekend having joined the Mariners within the last week.
The former Stalybridge Celtic forward earned the praise of Wilcox for his attitude, and the Iron boss said: “He came back to us after scoring 17 goals, full of confidence, but with an injury.
“He has shown great mental strength; that's probably the biggest compliment I could give him. I think mentally he's in a much better place than he was 12 months ago.”
A trio of younger members of the United ranks are also benefitting from the loan system, with Callum Howe, George Grayson, and Jamie Wootton all currently away from Glanford Park on a short-term basis.
Howe and Wootton are each at fellow Lincolnshire outfit Gainsborough Trinity, with both players featuring in every one of Trinity’s last eight matches.
Meanwhile, Grayson linked up with Frickley Athletic in February having spent a frustrating month at Bradford Park Avenue earlier in the campaign where he found opportunities to impress limited.
United manager Russ Wilcox has previously stressed how critical regular first team football can be to the development of academy players, and firmly believes such deals are the way forward in terms of nurturing the young talent at his disposal.