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20 January 2017

After two encounters with Charlton Athletic already this season, Iron boss Graham Alexander says he knows the nature of the challenge which lies in wait.

Casting his mind back to the two teams’ most recent meetings however, Alexander believes his players have a lot to be encouraged about heading into Saturday’s clash at the Valley.

Speaking to The Iron PlayerHD ahead of the game, Alexander said: “We expect a tough game, as you would going to Charlton - even at the level above that’d be a tough fixture.

“In the game here they were extremely hard to break down, and then when we went down there in the FA Cup I thought that was one of our best performances this season.

“I thought our performance over the course of the game was superb, and I think we’re going to have to produce something like that again.

“In general play I was delighted with the players, I thought their work rate was superb. You never want to take a defeat, but you know if you get beat and perform like that, you can look yourself in the mirror and say we did everything we could.

“However, It’s a different game, it’s a different manager for them, and we have to go down there looking for the three points.”

While he’ll miss out this weekend, Alexander was delighted to see defender David Mirfin complete 45 minutes in a behind-closed-doors game against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday.

Mirfin hasn’t featured since picking up an innocuous foot injury in the away fixture with Coventry City in November, but his manager is optimistic his comeback is not too far away.

“Having Mirf (David Mirfin) back after such a long period out was a major positive,” he stated.

“He played half a game, which was planned. He got through that first half fine, but we didn’t want to push it just in case.

“He’ll have a full week’s training next week, and we’re hoping to get another game organised next week as well.

“It’s good to have him back in with the group, because he’s a quality player and a great character to have around as well.

“The game was too early for Scott Wiseman and Conor (Townsend).”

Elsewhere, Neal Bishop, who missed the last league fixture against Northampton Town, has a chance of playing a part, but Alexander confirmed Paddy Madden will be a definite omission from the squad.

“We’re going to see if Bish (Neal Bishop) can train, but Paddy’s (Madden) is still a bit away,” Alexander revealed.

“He’s going through his rehab with the medical team and, as soon as he’s fit enough to compete at the level he needs to, then he’ll be back within the squad.

“Unfortunately his groin has held him back a little bit, but we’ll just have to wait for that to heal up.”

See much more from Graham Alexander and Sam Mantom on The Iron PlayerHD.

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