United goalkeeper Sam Slocombe anticipates another tough game this weekend as his side play host to relegation candidates Northampton Town.Stressing that the Cobblers’ position isn’t a true reflection of their current form, the Iron’s number one made it clear that Northampton will arrive at Glanford Park looking to topple Scunthorpe’s longstanding unbeaten record.
“It is going to be a tough game,” stated Slocombe, talking to The Iron Player.
“If you look at the form table, they’ll be right up there since Chris Wilder has gone there and I would presume they’ve changed the style that they played a little bit. I would presume that they play a little bit like Oxford play and he’s got them playing well and picking up points.
“They are picking up points for a reason and they’re going to have pressure on them coming here and it is going to be hard for them. I – like Scunthorpe supporters – have been in that situation for the past couple of seasons where we need to pick points up because we were at the bottom of the table.”
He added: “The pressure of needing to pick up points because you’re challenging for promotion is completely different and we are enjoying and relishing that pressure.”
Along with new manager Chris Wilder, former Scunthorpe boss, who is now assistant manager, Alan Knill returns to Glanford Park for the second time this season – with the home shotstopper expecting a tough encounter to record three wins against the duo this term.
“I thought when Torquay came here, they actually did keep the ball well,” he continued.
He added: “They scored one but I don’t think they threatened us a lot and I believe they have taken Marquis who was at Torquay. He will be a handful.”
The Iron were victims of a late goal at Sixfield’s to deny them all three points earlier in the season – something the team will aim to put right should they go in front this time round.
“We played quite well down at Northampton and we were unlucky to draw, so it will be difficult for them coming here – we have to make sure that is the case,” said Slocombe.
“I think a lot of people are making a big deal about it when actually I would only say that two of three of the late goals we’ve conceded was actually our fault. The others could have happened at any point of the game.
“We could have avoided the Bristol Rovers one because with five minutes to go as we were chasing a second goal when we didn’t need to. One of the other ones might have been Dagenham and Redbridge at home where we thought we had won the game and we tried to step up on the edge of the box, where we just needed to see the game out.
“At Northampton, they played a long ball forward and it got in behind us – and sometimes that does happen within a game. Again, at Newport. they put the ball in the box 70 times in that game and we defended the majority really well, but they were going to get some joy at some point.”
He added: “We’re very confident we can see out a game and at the minute, we are scoring on average two goals a game, so there’s no reason we can’t win games.”
Slocombe also echoed Sean McAllister’s views that with twelve games left, it becomes a twelve game season in order to get the side an immediate return to League One.
“These next twelve games are very important for us and it will define whether we get promoted or whether we don’t,” he continued.
“If we continue on the theme of getting two points a game on average, then I’ve no doubt that we will get promoted. From the amount of home games we’ve got, that should not be a problem.
“We’ve been very strong away from home as well and picked up a reasonable amount of points and when it’s looked like we were going to lose, we’ve either won or picked up a draw.”
He added: “I think that we’re in a strong position.”
Avoiding defeat against the Cobblers will equal the record set in 2006/07 for the longest sequence of league games without a defeat. That record in 2007 was ironically ended by Northampton, although the goalkeeper insists he won’t be thinking about the record, with it taking care of itself if the team perform to their capabilities.
“I’m not looking at the record; I just want to win the game,” said Slocombe.
“There have been games we’ve played well enough to win a game and we haven’t. I’m really hoping we can put out a performance like the Portsmouth one for the fans on Saturday.”
See much more from Sam Slocombe, Russ Wilcox, David Mirfin and Niall Canavan on The Iron Player.