Iron manager Mark Robins described Saturday’s home clash against Sheffield United as “a massive derby game against the biggest club in the division”.The Scunthorpe boss says everyone is relishing the tie, which happens to fall on Irish Iron Day, making for an impressive atmosphere at Glanford Park.
“I think we can look forward to a really good game against one of the fancied sides in League One,” said Robins.
“Sheffield United have a decent squad and Nigel Clough is a good manager. They’re a strong, well-followed outfit so it should give us a marker of where we are and where can get to this season.”
The claret and blue have twelve games left of the season, which Robins says is a perfect time to repeat the unbeaten run the Iron achieved earlier on in his time at the club.
He said: “It’s another opportunity to get three points. We’re looking for as strong a finish as we possibly can do and I’m positive the team will reflect that on Saturday. Whatever happens, we’re in for a tough afternoon, but hopefully we can show why we went twelve games unbeaten not too long ago.”
Marcus Williams could be fit to feature against his old side at the weekend, according to his manager, who would then have a selection headache between the former Blades defender and Hull loanee Conor Townsend.
“I’ll be certain of what I’m going to do and it’s down to the one in the shirt to stay in the team,” Robins said.
Other players on the sidelines are fellow goalkeepers Sam Slocombe and James Severn. Club captain Slocombe is back on the training field, but is currently “focusing more on his feet than his hands”. Robins is hoping to have him back in contention in two or three weeks’ time.
Severn, meanwhile, suffered a more complicated injury, meaning his return will be closer to the end of the campaign.
Midfielder Dave Syers is another player to gradually make his way back into training, having spent almost the whole season injured. Robins said: “I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops and how we can fit him into the side moving forward”, before admitting “it’s still early days”.
Scunthorpe have had a midweek fixture every week for the last month, but have been able to concentrate solely on Saturday’s game this week. This has allowed the players a bit of rest, on top of an opportunity for more work on the training ground, said Robins.
“From a mental perspective it was good not to have a game on Tuesday because of the amount we’ve had in recent weeks. That can dull the senses at times so a bit of rest has hopefully given the players enough to think about,” he said.
“We’re gearing up to Saturday’s game and it’s been a decent build up.”
The Iron have been unfortunate of late, playing well but not getting the results they deserve. Robins says “the performances have been good” but added “the only stat that matters to me, the supporters, and the players is that we score more goals than we concede, which has not been the case over the last few games. But we’re looking for more points and there’s no better time to start some momentum.”
See much more from Mark Robins, Ned Kelly and Neal Bishop on The Iron Player.