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Alexander praises first leg display

4 May 2017

Iron manager Graham Alexander praised his side’s resilient performance in the Play-off Semi-Final first leg fixture against Millwall.

Both teams endeavoured for an advantage but it ended goalless at the halfway stage of the two legged tie after 90 minutes.

Contested in front of a ferocious home crowd, Alexander feels things are evenly poised prior to Sunday’s return clash after holding firm at The Den.

He told The Iron PlayerHD: “Whatever the result tonight, as long as it wasn’t a big swing either way, it was always going to go into the second leg.

“We’re pleased to have come here and got a clean sheet after the last time we played here a month ago – it was a vast improvement on that side of it.

“Millwall put us under a lot of pressure with the amount of free-kicks and corners coming into the box. The players had to defend really well and we did that.

“It was a really dogged away performance but we know there is a second part to go.

“We’re pleased with tonight’s work but we know there’s a lot more to be done.”

Scunthorpe went into the game off the back of five straight League One victories following a fine run that had seen the squad finish third and narrowly miss out on automatic promotion.

Pleased to see the squad continue their recent regular season performance levels down in London, Alexander refused to single out any one individual during what was a dogged group effort.

“In general terms, I thought we made it really difficult for Millwall and cut the avenues of attack off,” he continued.

“We had to stand up strong to Millwall’s challenges and it was a good, competitive game between two good teams.

“We both would have wanted to take it into the second leg, knowing you’d want to win the game without leaving yourself too open.

“It’s all to play for but we’re delighted with the attitude of the players and their commitment to the game because it was a hostile atmosphere, which we expected.

“We had to stay fully focused for the full 90 minutes and, to a man, they all did that and stuck to their tasks.”

United head back up to North Lincolnshire with things finely balanced but knowing that they will again be roared on by a strong army of Iron faithful in three days’ time. 

Later asked about the condition of his side, the boss issued an update on captain Stephen Dawson, who was forced to leave proceedings near its climax after picking up a hand injury.  

Alexander added: “It’s about the whole squad over these two legs and we’ll see that.

“It’s fantastic that we can come down to a place like this and compete and I’d like to thank each of the fans for coming down tonight.

“We know how tough it is, especially during the working week and the distance involved, but we needed their backing and I’m sure there will be good numbers at Glanford Park on Sunday.

“We’ll need them again because we can only win together.

“I don’t know how badly damaged it (Dawson’s hand) is but it looked quite sore and it is quite badly swollen.

“We’re hoping it’s just a superficial one and that there’s no actual damage to his hand but Daws is a tough guy.

“He’ll get the right treatment and will hopefully be available for selection.”

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

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