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Great courage

8 April 2017

Iron manager Graham Alexander was full of praise for his squad following the 1-0 win against Bolton Wanderers.

United went ahead early on as David Mirfin headed home from Josh Morris’ accurate set piece and that’s the way things stayed as Scunthorpe picked up a big three points.

Predictably pleased with the victory, Alexander told The Iron PlayerHD: “It’s a great win. It was a great performance with great courage from the players.

“We thoroughly deserved it, I don’t think anyone can argue with that fact. We passed the ball from minute one really well, controlled the possession and created chances with it.

“It was a set-piece that won the game but our play deserved more than that. It was a fantastic effort by the whole team and a superb three points.

“We defended brilliantly right from the front – Paddy (Madden) and Ivan (Toney) worked their socks off and were ably supported by the other boys.

“Then when needed, Joe Anyon was there to make a superb save from one of their set-pieces but every player contributed towards that victory today.

“They’ve never lost that belief in themselves and we’re still fighting.”

Mirfin’s header was his second of the season and secured what turned out to be a crucial triumph in front of more than 6,000 supporters at Glanford Park.

Delighted to see his side add to their divisional tally following the defender’s 12th minute goal, Alexander hopes it can act as a springboard in the final few third tier matches.

“I don’t think they’ve (the defence) scored enough this season with the delivery that we get,” he continued.

“To have a successful team, you need to score goals from all over the pitch and we are one of the highest scoring sides in the country but with the quality that they’ve got, all three centre halves could score more goals.

“Mirf has got two this season and both have been winners with clean sheets so hopefully there’s another one in the bag somewhere. It’s well within the grasp of our centre halves to score more goals.

“If they’re keeping clean sheets and nicking winning goals like today, then I can’t be too critical. Hopefully this is the start now of a good run of games like that.

“Defensively, apart from a couple of little scares, I thought we looked reasonably comfortable against an excellent team who have been on an amazing run of form.

“It’s difficult to pick out any one outstanding player because I thought they were all outstanding and nobody let the team down.

“It’s a positive changing room in there and we have to take that positive attitude into next week’s game.”

Just four games of the League One season remain, with United looking to do enough to earn a top six finish.

Meanwhile, midfield man Matt Crooks was forced off at half-time after picking up a knock and the boss issued an update on his condition post-match, as well as a couple of others missing from the squad.

He added: “We’ve now got two games in quick succession and all teams will be looking to get as many points from those matches as possible.

“The picture slightly changes after those two games, especially with the fixtures running out, so it’s a big weekend for everybody but we can only focus on that first game first of all.

“We’ll have a good week’s training this week and we’ll be looking for a similar performance from the players.

“Crooksy has picked up a knock on his knee. It was 50-50 as to whether he could continue but going on medical advice, we thought it was best to bring him off.

“We don’t know how bad it is yet so we’ll wait and see what the medical team say but hopefully he’ll be fit for next week.

“Bish (Neal Bishop) came on and looked like the Bish of old – I thought he was fantastic.

“He was winning second balls, using it well and could have nicked a goal himself with a great run. All of the players that came on added to the performance.

“Jordan Clarke is physically okay, but has had some bad family news which is the reason he was absent today and Toffs (Harry Toffolo) has a thigh strain, though we expect him to train towards the back end of next week.”

See much more from Graham Alexander and Conor Townsend on The Iron PlayerHD.

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