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Interviews

Wilcox happy with cup progression

28 August 2019

Under-23s manager Russ Wilcox was content with his side's display as the Iron beat their Shrewsbury Town counterparts 2-0 at the Sands Venue Stadium on Tuesday night.

Goals from John McAtee and Ryan Colclough completed the victory, which also included a late penalty save from goalkeeper Tom Collins, as the side made it through to the second qualifying round where they'll face Southend United away from home.

Speaking to iFollow Iron after the game, Wilcox said: "It was pleasing. There were some good aspects of the game and we passed and moved the ball really well at times.

"At 2-0, we made hard work of it and our game management was disappointing. Credit to Shrewsbury, they never gave up on it and if the penalty goes in, it would have been a nervy last ten minutes.

"Overall, we're pleased. Ryan Colclough got 90 minutes and that's the important bit. It's not always about the under-23s winning, it's about the progression of the players into the first team, so hopefully that's Ryan up and running. John McAtee did really well and there were some good performances."

United's goals came in quick succession after the interval, with the side failing to break the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes despite a fairly dominant half. Four minutes after the restart, McAtee headed home, while just four minutes later Colclough fired in to double the advantage.

"They made it really difficult for us at times, sitting behind the ball," he continued.

"They did really well and were dogged. We found it difficult to create many chances in the first half and that was disappointing. We got into the final third, but the last little pass let us down. We started the second half brightly, got the two goals and move into the next round, so we're looking forward to a nice little short trip to face Southend."

Having signed a professional contract earlier in the month, and being invited to an England training camp, second-year scholar Tom Collins continued to impress between the sticks, pulling off a fine penalty save late on as the Shrews looked to edge back into the game.

"It was an important moment," Wilcox stated.

"We've all been there in our careers at 2-0 and you know the next goal is an important moment. It's a magnificent save to be honest and then the lad misses the header as well. All of a sudden, we could've been talking about extra time and maybe penalties as well.

"I'm pleased to get through in 90 minutes and delighted with the clean sheet."

Absent from the encounter was a trio of under-23s players, with Adam Kelsey, Omar Sanyang and Jai Rowe all missing the game. In the final part of his post-match interview, Wilcox touched on their absences.

"Kelsey has got a little fracture in his finger, so he's probably going to be out for three-to-four weeks," he continued.

"Omar has got a really bad injury which he did in training. It was an unfortunate one, but he's got a break on his ankle and has done ligaments as well. We wish him all the best. He's a great kid - his attitude and application has been first class. Hopefully we can keep his spirits high and we can get him back sooner rather than later.

"Jai has a little bit of tendonitis in his knee and he was touch-and-go. I made the final call on that, because you have to look at the bigger picture. He's only just 18 and the grounds have been really hard up at St Lawrence Academy at the moment.

"It was precautionary, but hopefully he will be okay for the next game."


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