Manager Nick Daws was pleased to get the majority of his players another 90 minutes under their belt, as pre-season drew to a close against Lincoln City.
The United boss had six senior players missing for the encounter, with first-year professional George Hornshaw starting in the Iron’s midfielder along with Levi Sutton, while new loan signing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was put into the line-up having signed for the club hours before.
Daws reacted to the encounter against the Imps, speaking to iFollow Iron: “It was an interesting game. We didn’t expect Lincoln to line-up with a back three, so that was a different challenge for us. We expected them to be direct and physical, which they were, and a different type of game from Wednesday.
“I thought that sometimes we dealt with that well and sometimes we dealt with it poorly, so that’s room to improve in terms of being more aggressive and dominant. As always, there are some pleasing aspects and there are some aspects to work on, but hopefully we’ve come through the game unscathed without anymore injuries and we’ve got 90 minutes for the majority of players.
“We know where we’re at. We had six senior players out today, but credit to our team, they stuck at it and tried to do the things that we wanted them to do.”
The Iron were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline against the League Two side, following a header from Scott Wharton ten minutes from time following a right-winged corner.
Speaking about the goal, and his side’s overall defending, Daws continued: “In the main, we dealt with Lincoln’s set-plays very well and the one we could’ve dealt with better for the goal is, in my opinion, a foul. Thankfully there wasn’t three points on it, because it would’ve been really disappointing.
“There was a block on Kyle Wootton by Matt Rhead that allowed their centre-half to get in and score. We expect it to happen as it’s part-and-parcel of the game. If you’re the attacking team and get away with it, great. But if you’re the defending team and the referee doesn’t see it, not-so-great.”
Daws alluded to the fact that the squad was again missing half-a-dozen senior players - giving some positive news where a return for some players is concerned.
Along with the long term injury of Matt Gilks, the side added Rory McArdle, Lee Novak and James Horsfield to the injury list - along with Duane Holmes, Funso Ojo and Josh Morris, who have all missed a chunk of pre-season.
“We’ve been a little bit disjointed with missing six senior players and we had Cameron Borthwick-Jackson make his debut and play 90 minutes having met the boys just before the game - the same as the trialist,” he stated.
“Funso joined in with the warm-up today and has joined in with training for the last few days. Now it’s a case of getting him in a position to start a game. If we put him on the bench without enough minutes in his legs, that would be a detriment to us all. He’s probably the closest to returning.
“Duane Holmes has done some running today and joked with me that he could get 45 minutes. That’s Duane. He’s enthusiastic, he wants to play and cares so much. Josh Morris will hopefully be back into training next week and James Horsfield had a little setback, so we’re protecting him a little bit.
“Rory McArdle’s heel has still not healed. He’s been carrying it since the Winterton game, but it just needs time to heal properly. It’s not something that will stop him playing, but we can’t have it not healing properly. He’ll have some work done to it to get him back into contention for when he returns from suspension.
“Lee Novak has done some running today. It was partly precautionary when he came off, but we’re in a position where we need fit bodies and need to get players back on the pitch within four-or-five days rather than four-or-five weeks, if they do break down.
“It’s a careful process of managing players through depending on the stage they’re at.”
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