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Alexander delighted with 'extremely competitive' squad

11 January 2018

Speaking after the loan acquisitions of Ivan Toney and Ryan Yates, Iron manager Graham Alexander feels he has an extremely competitive squad at his disposal.

Striker Toney joined from Newcastle United for a second spell on loan at Scunthorpe, while midfielder Yates has signed from Nottingham Forest. Both deals are until the end of the season.

They become the second and third arrivals at Glanford Park during the January transfer window, following the addition of Cameron McGeehan on loan from Barnsley until the end of the campaign last week.

All three come into contention to make their debut in Saturday’s League One away clash at Portsmouth, and Alexander spoke to iFollow Iron about Thursday’s acquisitions and whether he plans to strengthen further.

Club News

Ivan Toney returns on loan from Newcastle

11 January 2018

It’s no secret that we’ve admired Ivan for a long time. Having him here last year was really good for us, and good for him as well. He scored some really good, vital goals for us and enjoyed his time. We spoke to him again in the summer but he wanted to try something different, which he did, and he went to Wigan. It possibly didn’t work out as well as he’d have hoped, but that’s not to take away the quality Ivan possesses. We had the opportunity to try and get him back on board during this window and fortunately enough we’ve been able to do that. We’re really excited about having him back on board. He made a really good impression the first time around. The players enjoyed playing alongside him and the supporters took to him as well. Ivan wanted to come back and hopefully the frustrations of the last few months for him can come out in his performances for us, and he can compete with the rest of the players to be in the team, and help us win games.

GA: That’s the big thing for any player coming into a club. He knows what’s expected of him and knows the competition, and how we run things. It’s about the work ethic and team ethic. We won’t go away from those things for any individual, and everyone has to buy into that. Ivan knows it. It took him a few games last season to get into the team, but when he did he continued to earn his spot by scoring goals in a team that was winning. Hopefully that will be the case again this year. I think he can improve on what he did last year. He’s a young player who has very good attributes. He needs to find the consistency in his performances that makes sure he plays 50 games a season. That’s the same with any young player. Hopefully he can progress with us while competing at a high level and winning games, that’s the biggest thing. I’m hoping he doesn’t come back as just the same player as last year. I want him to come back as an improved player and improve while he’s with us. He can only do that with a good work ethic and an intelligent mind that takes on the relevant information. The motivation is there for Ivan, the quality is there too. It’s about putting it all together to bring out the best.

Club News

Ryan Yates joins on loan from Nottingham Forest

11 January 2018

GA: We’ve admired him for a while now. We’ve watched him all season. He scored against us earlier in the season (for Notts County in the Carabao Cup) and we’ve kept an eye on him. We weren’t too sure of Forest’s thoughts on his long-term future but when we did speak to him they said they saw him as a long-term prospect for them. However, they wanted him to go out and improve as a young player and play games. He’s done a fantastic job of that at Notts County in League Two, in a very good team. I think he and Forest see this as another step in his improvement and progression as a young player towards their first team. He’s hopefully now going to play for an excellent team at the top end of League One. If he manages to do that and be part of a successful team here, he will go back to Nottingham Forest in the summer a much better player. I spoke to Ryan a few days ago about everything, putting the challenge down to him, telling him how we run things and about performance, and the good players he’ll have around him. I didn’t see any fear in his demeanor, it was ‘bring on the challenge’. That tells me everything about him, and he’ll only make our squad better.

GA: He’s a proper midfield player, who is best known for his defensive qualities and his aggression in how he competes, but there’s a very good footballer in there who can score goals. What we want to try and do is bring out the whole package. I do believe midfielders should be traditional ones who can defend and attack, and Ryan fits the bill. He’s motivated and ambition with a point to prove, like Ivan Toney and Cameron McGeehan. It will only improve the quality of our squad and the other players will respond to that. We’ve done a lot of work through the chairman, Jim (Rodwell), Turny (Lee Turnbull) and myself to get these boys on board. Now it’s down to the players to go out and prove us right.

"You look at the squad now and it’s extremely competitive, with strong competition. Everyone is knocking on the door and competing."

Graham Alexander, manager

GA: We looked at what we did last year and how we could improve this year. Trying to get the right players on board as early as possible was our biggest thing. It gives them time to bed in and see where they are, and just get going. Points are at stake now, there’s no point in waiting, we need to win now. We know the players will improve the squad and improve the team, and hopefully improve the results, because that’s what we want to do in the second half of the season. It brings composure to everything because we have good strength in depth now. We know we’ve been stretched over the last three or four weeks but you look at the squad now and it’s extremely competitive, with strong competition. Everyone is knocking on the door and competing.

GA: We’re trying to look for at least one other player, possibly a right-back, because of Jordan Clarke’s injury. That player can compete with Levi Sutton and Duane Holmes. If we can, we want to play Duane in the higher attacking positions where he’s at his best. That will probably be the only business we’ll look to do now, because I look through the squad and I’m really happy with the quality of it. I’m delighted to get them on board and can’t wait to get started with them.

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Want to sponsor new arrivals Ivan Toney and Ryan Yates? We have home and away kit sponsorship available for the pair. To enquire, please call 01724 747678 during office hours or email

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