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Hurst previews Grimsby encounter, and updates on Perch, Slater and more

18 December 2019

Manager Paul Hurst has spoken to iFollow Iron ahead of the local derby at Grimsby Town on Saturday (1pm kick-off).

Scunthorpe take on the Mariners in the league for the first time since April 2005 and it’s a game the boss is looking forward to.

Hurst, who had a previous spell managing Grimsby, said: “We know what’s at stake in terms of the bragging rights. At the end of it, it is three points so that aspect’s no different. The size of the crowd, the fact it’s a local derby and one you certainly want to win for the fans makes it important, and when the fixtures come out it’s one of the games you look for first.

“We’re looking forward to it and just hope we can put on a good performance, and that we are talking about the game for the right reasons, because derby games can often spark controversy. I’m hoping we can get through it the right way and with a victory.”

It will be the second time United have faced Grimsby this season, having already beaten them 2-1 away in the Trophy group stages.

He said: “It was the first time I’d been back and it was great to see quite a lot of familiar faces, who are still working at the football club in various roles. It was more relaxed than I’m sure it will be on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to the atmosphere because I’ve been there for this game in the other dugout (in the FA Cup first round as Grimsby manager), and it’s one of the atmospheres that I certainly remember as a manager and probably overall in my time in football.

“While there may not be 60,000 there, ultimately the noise created and the buzz around the stadium, outside of it as well, is something that stayed with me. If it’s anything like that again, it will make an impact and hopefully the end result is a positive one from point of view so it becomes a good memory.”

A sold-out away following will back the Iron at Blundell Park and, talking about how the players have approached training this week, he continued: “They’ve been pretty normal and I haven’t sensed a nervousness or overexcitement. It’s one of those as a manager where you want to do your work but you’re keen to get the game underway. Preparation-wise it’s nothing different than for anyone else. There will be some subtle messages from myself and Chris (Doig, assistant manager) in terms of what’s awaiting them on Saturday. Hopefully the lads can feed off the fans and put in a good display.”

James Perch was an early doubt for the game after coming off injured late on in the 2-2 home draw against Colchester last weekend, but should be fine for this Saturday.

Hurst said: “Perchy’s looking like he’s going to be fine. He did a bit of running on Tuesday and on Wednesday he joined in training, seeming happy with how he felt. He certainly looked to be moving fine, so unless he has a reaction, he’ll be in the squad.

“All’s good on the injury side, and we also welcome back Levi Sutton from his one game ban. We’re still missing Matthew Lund but we feel we’ve got a good squad to choose from and a couple of tough decisions to make ahead of the game.”

Hurst concluded with updates on Jordan Hallam (hamstring), Regan Slater (ankle) and James Horsfield (knee).

The boss added: “Jordy seems a lot happier now with being flat out and he felt he was able to train. He felt like he couldn’t hit top speed but now he’s a lot happier, and could get some minutes on Friday (for the Under-23s at home to Hull City).

“Unfortunately for Regan he’s going to need an operation that will take place on Monday and rule him out for some time. That’s frustrating for him but the injury wasn’t getting any better. It’s been looked at again and we felt that was the best way forward. We’re disappointed for Regan but that’s where he’s at. It will be a minimum of a couple of months that’s out for.

“James Horsfield has been in a few days, not in terms of him being back for this season, but he’s been in for treatment and been around the players. While he’s disappointed to not be playing, he seems in decent spirits, so hopefully the lads can get around him and make him feel part of it as well.”

See much more from Paul Hurst and Alex Gilliead on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.

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