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McCall looks to build on last week's fightback

9 November 2018

Iron manager Stuart McCall is looking for his side to build on the fightback against Oxford United last week when they host Burton Albion in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.

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10 November 2018

The boss saw his side come back from three goals down to claim a point against the U’s last weekend, arresting a run of five successive defeats, and is seeking to use the battling spirit displayed then as a building block to get back to winning ways.

Speaking to iFollow Iron about the week so far, McCall said: “We had a little bit of illness earlier in the week. Ike (Ugbo) and Jordan (Clarke) missed Tuesday but they’re back now and are fine. We’ve had a couple of little niggles but the majority of the lads trained on Thursday.

“We had a meeting again trying to iron a few things out, because you need to see it on the video from the previous week. We’ve also worked on it at the training ground with the back lads on Tuesday and Thursday, and gone through it in repetition. 

“The disappointing thing was Oxford had three shots on our goal and scored three times. It wasn’t as if we were carved open or dominated in any area of the park, but we just didn’t defend very well as a unit for the three goals. We have to learn from that, and make sure we improve and stop conceding as many goals. 

“I’m looking forward to Saturday. From what I’ve seen, and I’ve watched them a few times live, on their day Burton are as good as anything in our league. They have some really good players, good experience but it’s our job to make sure it’s not their day on Saturday. We went down to Burton and got a deserved clean sheet in the league in September, but they are on the back of a good 3-1 win at Walsall last week which could have been a lot more.

“What last Saturday showed in the second period was that we have character and commitment. If you haven’t got that, you won’t succeed. Obviously, we need to cut out the goals conceded and keep creating opportunities. We need that togetherness and need to be a unit. It’s not easy when you’re losing games and confidence is fragile, which it is, but that’s when you need to stand up and rally around each other, and I’ve seen that this week.

“I really want us to have a good go at them. I love the FA Cup as it is and I’m sure most people from my era do, and I’m sure Nigel (Clough) will want them to go as far as they can. They’ve flown the flag for our division in the Carabao Cup and have had some great results. We need to get back on the winning track and Saturday’s our next chance to do that. When we get it right, we’ll be hard to play against. Clean sheets help restore the confidence in everybody, and it seems ages since we beat Shrewsbury 1-0 but I’d certainly take that on Saturday.”

In terms of injuries, Stephen Humphrys returns to contention following a hamstring problem which ruled him out of last week’s clash against Oxford. Lee Novak and Matthew Lund are also fine after overcoming injuries to play key parts against the U’s.

Elsewhere, the game might come too soon for Funso Ojo as he seeks to return from a hamstring injury. Josh Morris will be absent as he still fully recovers from a broken jaw, while Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, who came off at half-time last week, is a doubt.

McCall added: “There’s no problem with Novs and Lundy, while Stephen Humphrys trained all week and there’s no issue there. CBJ is probably a doubt with his hip flexor, though we’ll give him every opportunity to be available. Funso has trained all week with us. I’d say he’s been at 78 per cent, so we don’t know yet whether it’s a risk we take or if we just look to get him involved next Tuesday (in the Checkatrade Trophy at Mansfield). We’ll see how he’s feeling in the run-up to the game, but we don’t want to throw him in if he’s not ready yet. He’s almost there but it’s just getting that balance right. 

“Josh is out running around the park, but can’t get any contact yet. He can’t until his jaw has fully healed. He’s been back here for a week, running around and building his fitness up. The next step is joining in with passing drills and technical work with no contact – once he’s fully healed we can get him back in full contact.”

See much more from Stuart McCall, Lee Novak and James Perch on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign up.

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