Iron manager Nick Daws says he and the players are raring to go, as League One football makes a return this Saturday.
Following five-and-a-half weeks of pre-season training, United kick-off the new season with an away clash at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena (3pm kick-off).
“The players are ready for competitive football,” the boss told iFollow Iron.
“We’ve had a couple of new additions in the last week, which have added to it (the anticipation). The squad is starting to take shape and you get to the point where you just want to get the season started and fight tooth or nail for three points.”
Those two aforementioned signings are Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, who signed on loan from Manchester United last Saturday morning, and the midweek addition of the vastly experienced midfielder James Perch on a permanent basis.
Daws added: “Both have settled in really well. They are good players and have shown their qualities in training. Cameron was thrown in last Saturday (for the friendly against Lincoln City) and did really well, while James brings some seniority, experience and is someone the younger players can look up to after a great career so far.”
Duane Holmes and Funso Ojo are back in full training now, but Saturday’s game may come too soon for the midfield duo, who have missed parts of pre-season.
Daws said: “I have a good idea of what the starting XI will be. We’ve still not seen whether everyone got through training on Thursday (at the time of speaking).
“It’s a decision we have to make as staff, another week and Funso will perhaps be in real contention. He returned to training last Thursday, seven days ago, and has a decent chunk under his belt. Duane returned on Tuesday and has had two days but hasn’t missed as much of pre-season as Funso had. There are arguments both ways for both players to be involved. What we have to do is make sure we make the right decision rather than put them at risk.”
Josh Morris will continue to miss out with a minor thigh problem, although Daws is hoping for good news on the winger later this week.
“Josh is having a repeat scan on Friday just to see whether the injury has healed. If it has, then he’ll step up his rehabilitation into the weekend and next week,” he said.
“One thing Josh has been able to do is continue to run and work on the bike, in the pool, and do straight line running on the pitch. He hasn’t missed many sessions but what he has missed is football. He’s physically fit but the football side will step up as he gets on the road to recovery.”
Speaking about the challenge facing his side at the Ricoh Arena this weekend, taking on ex-Iron manager and colleague Mark Robins, Daws continued: “It’s good to start at the Ricoh Arena against a side who have just been promoted and with a decent crowd I’d imagine. It’s a good environment for the players to test themselves in. They’ve recruited well in the summer and it’ll be interesting to see how the two sides match up.
“Any team that gets promoted comes into the season with momentum, and though they’ve had injuries over the summer, I know Mark will have them prepared. It will be a test of the work we’ve done this summer and of our ability.
“I saw Mark briefly at an LMA manager’s meeting ten days ago. He asked me not to talk about football! He didn’t want me to give anything away and he didn’t want me to find anything out about them, so we had a little fun with that. He’s a guy I have an immense amount of respect for, we played together at Rotherham in our last couple of seasons as professionals and then we joined the coaching staff at the same time before working alongside each other there, at Barnsley and here too. I’m looking forward to facing him.”
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