Iron defender Niall Canavan believes that the team weren’t themselves on Saturday afternoon, and that they were embroiled in to a scrappy game of football.United went down 1-0 to Oldham at Glanford Park at the weekend, with Carl Winchester notching late on to send Lee Johnson’s men back to Greater Manchester with all three points, and Canavan, speaking to The Iron Player, told us about how the team simply weren’t at their best.
“I think we were well off from what we have been recently” he said.
“It wasn’t one of the best games to watch and it was one of those scrappy ones where you look back, and if it ends 0-0 then you’ll admit that it’s fair enough and you’ll take the point, and everyone goes home a bit more content.”
With the clock ticking on, there was the increasing feeling around the stadium that one goal for either side could win it in the end, a feeling shared by Canavan post match.
He stated: “I think in these tight scrappy games that’s always the case.
"They’re away from home and looking for that 1-0 win, but I think we have to have the confidence that we’re going to get that chance.
"Paddy nearly nicked one; we had a period when we were on top where if we had of nicked one then it may have been different.
"In the scrappy games it often ends up at 1-0, if not both sides go home with a clean sheet apiece.”
Some credit needed to be paid to an Oldham side who handed the Iron only their second league defeat since October of last year, however Canavan believed the result was a mixture of a good display from the visitors, and a below par one by the hosts.
Canavan said: “We definitely weren’t at our best, whether that was because that was down to what they did or down to our own performance levels.
"It might be a bit of both but they certainly came here and pressed us which a lot of teams haven’t done, so we’ve got to find a way to deal with that.
"I keep repeating the fact it was a scrappy game, but we have to learn we’ve got to at least see the point out.”
Mark Robins has handed the 6ft 3in centre-half a start in each of the last three games for the Iron, with the former Republic Ireland U21 defender forming a good partnership with Andrew Boyce, but despite enjoying his return after shoulder surgery that left him out for three months, he doesn’t believe his spot is set in stone just yet.
“I wouldn’t call it regular as it’s only been a couple of games, but it’s nice to be out there," he said.
"It’s been a long while back as I’ve said before, and it’s just good to be out there on the green stuff and having a good go at it.”
A bumper crowd of 4,125 watched the two teams slog it out in a tight affair at Glanford Park, and Canavan believes the better performances are helping the fans to flock back to the stadium, although Saturday’s game proved a minor setback.
Canavan said on good football luring back fans: “I think you’d have to say that.
"Improved performances and improved results obviously draw more people back to watch us.
"There’s a bigger crowd than normal and that’s disappointing for us not able to show them what we are all about really, and that’s what we need to look to do, entertain.”
Next up for Scunthorpe United is a trip to the Ricoh Arena, where they face a Coventry City side who two places and two points behind the Iron in 19th, and with eight away league games without a defeat, Canavan is confident the lads can cast the thoughts of the Oldham game out of their heads, and bring the three points back to North Lincolnshire.
Canavan stated: “We’ll go there confident.
"We’ll put Saturday down as a bit of a blip but we’ll move on, and we’ll go there confident that we can get the three points. Our away record is pretty good recently so I don’t see any reason why we can’t go there and take the win.”
Finally, one thing Niall Canavan wanted to stress is that the team need to keep their feet on the ground over the next few weeks, and not let the advanced expectations that comes with a good run of results, to allow them to get carried away with it all.
Canavan rounded off saying: “I think looking at it game by game is key at all times.
"You can’t get too far ahead of yourselves but you can’t get too down after things like today that have happened recently.
"We’ve got to take it game by game and we know we have a lot of them coming up.
"We’ve got to learn whatever we can from each game and take it in to the next one and as quick as we possibly can.”
See much more from Niall Canavan, Mark Robins and Isaiah Osbourne on The Iron Player.