Liam O’Neil believes being sharp at either end of the pitch is the key to winning football matches, he told the Iron Player.Speaking ahead of this weekend’s game with Yeovil Town, O’Neil said that the team had time to reflect on what went wrong against Barnsley in the following days after Tuesday’s defeat, and what they’ve learned from the occasion.
O’Neil shared with us: “All the boys were bitterly disappointed to throw what a great opportunity it was to go in to ninth place, but we’ve got to go again.
“I thought we did enough to get a result but we weren’t clinical enough and obviously there goal was an individual error which happens, as everyone makes mistakes and that’s football.
“We spoke about what we did wrong and the gaffer sat us down and told us what we need to do and all the boys understand.
“They know what we need to do and obviously we need to be more clinical in our box and their box which is what wins you games at the end of the day.
“We can only go in to Saturday’s game raring to go and ready to hopefully get the three points.”
The squad had a rest day on Wednesday before returning for a light session the following day, and O’Neil filled us in about how they’ve been preparing for the upcoming game.
“We had a recovery session Thursday morning to get us ready for the game on Saturday” said O’Neil.
“There’s a lot of games at the moment so it’s important that we give ourselves the best opportunity to be fit and ready for the up and coming games.
“The gaffer has been good like that, and with help from his sports science team they’ve showed us what the best things to do are for our recovery.”
He has had quite the partnership with the skipper Neal Bishop, as well as with Isaiah Osbourne, since his move on loan from West Brom, with the cultured midfielder a great role model for O’Neil, who admits that although he will be a big loss to the team after picking up a two-match ban due to 10 yellow cards, it’s a chance for someone to stake a claim for the position, and fill the void.
O’Neil: “Obviously Bish is going to be a miss because of his experience.
“He’s played a lot of games and I think he’s been doing really well recently, but it’s a team game and we have got players who can come in for him like George (Evans) and Sean (McAllister), as well some other of the lads who we know can do a job.
“Whoever it is hopefully they can do exactly what he’s been doing as he will be a miss, but these things like suspensions happen in football so we have to put it right and get the three points without him.”
One place Bishop will be sorely missed is the dressing room. With club captain Sam Slocombe out through injury and now match day captain Bishop suspended, it’s up to players like O’Neil to step up and be counted for.
O’Neil stated: “Neal will still be getting us ready for the game although he isn’t playing, but it’s time for the likes of myself and the other lads to step up, be a leader and take on his duties.
“I think we can manage that as I know it’s something we are capable of.”
With Yeovil Town propping up the table in League One, many can be fooled in to thinking this may be an easy game, with O’Neil pointing out that the Iron were at one point in the bottom four while sporting a team that on paper has the quality to be in the top ten of the division.
With Scunthorpe knowing they could have been sitting eight places higher than they are right now if they had have won on Tuesday, the league is ever so tight from the bottom to the top, according to O’Neil.
He finished by saying: “Like I said before we could ninth right now if we had gotten the three points, two points off the play-offs and instead we are 17th.”
“Any game is going to be difficult and Yeovil got a good result against Gillingham, so they’re going to be coming here on a positive and looking to get three points or at least a point.”
“It’s going to be a tough game but hopefully we can do our jobs and get the three points.”