United added gloss to Saturday’s league win over Walsall with progression in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.The Iron put two past Chesterfield without reply to see them into the hat for round two.
Centre-back Niall Canavan spoke of his pleasure at stringing back to back wins together for the first time this season in addition to a victory in a competition the club are taking very seriously.
He told The Iron Player: “It’s nice after the start we had. It’s been difficult for us, we’ve had a lot of changes in the team so it’s good there to put two wins together at home.
“We said that they had two younger ones playing centre-half and we wanted to get the ball around them and see if we could cause them some problems and I think we did that.
“First half, I think we should have been a couple more in front but we kept it tight at the back. It’s always nice to keep a clean sheet.
“The manager’s said that we want to take this seriously. It’s a chance to get to Wembley. They took their chance to change as many as they could.
“We put out as strong a team as we could. That shows how seriously we’re taking the competition; it’s always good to get to the next round of the cup.”
With the shut-out came United’s second clean sheet of the season and without conceding, chances of gaining the right result inevitably go up. Canavan aims to build a platform for the attacking players in the squad with his defensive work.
“If we keep a clean sheet, it gives that bit more freedom to get up in the right areas of the pitch and express themselves," he stated.
“Thankfully they’ve started doing that and we’ve started doing a bit more at our end. If you can marry the two up, it’s a good combination to have.”
The centre-back pairing was immoveable last season, with Canavan and Mirfin playing the vast majority of games together as a unit. This season has so far been a different story in the latter’s absence.
Appearances for Miles Addison and Miguel Llera have meant there’s been a bit of a learning process.
He said: “The only way you get to understand each other’s game is by playing together. If you asked any centre-half, they’d say that.
“We were lucky last year that neither I nor Mirf picked up anything serious. We only missed a game each. Most of the time we were the two out there and we’ve had to change this year.
“It doesn’t make things easy at the start but I’m sure we can adapt well enough.”
“With Miguel, the only difference is he’s left-footed. He naturally tucks round a bit more but everyone can see he’s got the quality on the ball and the kind of experience that will help the lads around him.”
Saturday’s trip to Bristol City closes a busy grouping in the calendar with four games inside a two-week period. The squad is professional enough to cope, says Canavan.
He continued: “It’s been a bit of a crazy schedule that we’ve had and it finishes with this long journey. The lads are professional enough to do the right things to be ready for the game on Saturday.
“It’s all about recovering in the right way and getting your body ready for what will be another tough game on Saturday.”
See much more from Niall Canavan, and others, on The Iron Player.