Neal Bishop believes that the Iron matched Bristol City in every area of the pitch on Saturday.Speaking to The Iron Player, Bishop stressed that the team showed resilience and guts in the clash between the two form teams in the league, and that the 2-0 scoreline in City's favour did not reflect the performance.
Bishop said: “I thought we were on the front foot for the majority of the game.
"Paddy played a great ball in for me after about 15-20 seconds that went across goal, and we went on from there, that was the start we were after.
"We spoke about it, we knew we were going to get up high and press them because they are joint top, they are there by right and one of the best teams in this league.
"We more than matched them, we went toe to toe with them for ninety minutes, and taking all of the decisions and injuries aside, people coming here not knowing the positions of the two respective teams, I think you would put us above them based on that possible.”
Scunthorpe lost both Sam Slocombe and James Severn to broken arms in the first half, with defender Andrew Boyce going in goal for the remainder of the game, and combining that with a penalty decision going against the Iron, Bishop believes the side showed great character to battle back and force the hand of Steve Cotterill’s side.
Bishop stated: “I thought we were the better side in the first half, and the second. The only thing I think we were missing was that final ball and that killer instinct in the box.
"A couple of chances flashed across goal, maybe we could have gotten one or two more bodies in the box, but these things we can work on.
"The work rate and tempo we put in to the game today was fantastic, you have to take into account we had a tough 120 minutes at Chesterfield midweek, a hard game, and the majority of the lads came out today and played really well.
"It’s a testament to the desire, the fitness levels and the will to win. The lads are gutted in the dressing rooms, and that shows how far we’ve come, we’re really disappointed. They are joint top and we’ve more than matched them, and we feel aggrieved we haven’t got something out of the game.”
The Iron have picked up 17 points from a possible 21 in their last seven league games, with the improvement in performances lifting the club out of the relegation and further towards mid-table, and Bishop believes the fans are very well aware of the hard work a better displays the team have produced in the last couple of months.
Bishop told us: “I don’t think it takes me to say, I think everyone can see our improvements. I think the supporters appreciated that today, you can see it even though we got beat.
"They gave us a tremendous reception at the end because they could see the work, the passion and the quality we had today, and it was really good, the energy and the pace we had going forward.
"We look a different team from the start of the season. The new lads have come in and all contributed, and it’s early days for these lads, you have to remember they’ve been in and out because of the FA Cup, three or four of them have been missing games.
"I think if you take the negatives and turn them in to positives, we are out of the FA Cup now we can get a settled team and who knows what we can do this season. I think the quicker we get to 50 points, we can reassess what we want to do this season.”
Looking ahead to the MK Dons game on January 27th, Bishop and the team have no game for 10 days, giving them a good chance to regroup, and our match day captain believes hard work and having everyone available will provide the balance needed to help start another unbeaten run.
Bishop said: “It’s been difficult the last couple of weeks.
"We’ve chopped and changed, FA Cup ties, the replays we’ve had, the loan lads who have been left out and had to come back in, so we haven’t had a settled team.
"You look at the teams at the top few teams, and looking at Bristol City for example, eight, nine, ten of these players play every week, they may bring in one or two to freshen things up but they have a settled team, they’ve got a settled system, and we will have that now.
"The lads on loan are now available for every game from now until the rest of the season, and we’ll put plenty of work in on the training ground next week, we know we’ll have to be as good as we’ve been today if we are going to get something against a good MK Dons side a week on Tuesday.”
See much more from Neal Bishop, Mark Robins and Andrew Boyce on The Iron Player.