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THE PLAYERS ARE IN A GOOD PLACE

27 January 2017

Assessing Saturday’s upcoming home clash with Port Vale, Iron boss Graham Alexander says he’s predicting a intense challenge.

The Valiants inflicted the first of United’s four league defeats so far this season back in August, but Alexander is confident his players will deliver a strong performance.

Speaking to The Iron PlayerHD, Alexander said: “We have to concentrate on this game.

“We never focus on the the previous game, whether we’ve won it or lost it, it’s all about the next one.

“We know Michael (Brown) will have his team competitive and up for it, and they’ve got good players, so we’ll have to make sure we’re at our best.

“The players are in a good place, they’re focused on what’s important."

He also added that the frustration of seeing last weekend’s encounter with Charlton Athletic being called off has given the squad an added impetus for this weekend’s clash.

“Players love playing games, that’s why you work hard, that’s why you look after yourself physically, to have that light at the end of the tunnel of playing a game,” Alexander explained.

“When that’s kept away from you, whether it’s you not being in the team or the game is cancelled, the next time you get that opportunity, there’s always that extra zip in your play.

“I feel that from the players, we’ve felt that in training, but we always talk about the performance in games following on from training.”

Tuesday’s behind closed doors friendly match with Leeds Under-23s was a positive for Alexander, who stressed the importance of getting those who have been sidelined with injury minutes on the pitch once more.

Scunthorpe were 4-2 winners in the behind-closed-doors fixture which saw Conor Townsend, David Mirfin and Jamie Ness all get significant game time.

“Conor (Townsend) came in, Mirf (David Mirfin) and Nessy (Jamie Ness) played a bigger portion of the game,” he declared.

“We looked after the boys who returned from injury, gave them the minutes we’d planned to and everyone got through the game fine.

“It was good to see them out there and enjoying their football.”

Alexander doesn’t feel the need to rush anybody back into the first team fold though, and states all those sidelined will be ushered back in gradually.

“The lads who have been out injured, they’ve still not played a full game, but they are closer without a doubt,” revealed Alexander.

“We’ll have to look at how they are, but without playing a full game it could be a gamble.

“The performances (in the behind-closed-doors game against Leeds Under-23’s on Tuesday) were very good and, apart from that, we have pretty much a similar squad to what we had in the last couple of weeks.”

See much more from Graham Alexander and Murray Wallace on The Iron PlayerHD.

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