Manager Stuart McCall says on-loan right-back Tony McMahon will miss the clash at parent club Oxford due to a clause in the deal that brought him to Glanford Park, while centre-back Byron Webster may also miss out.
See much more from Stuart McCall, Rory McArdle and George Thomas on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.
The boss told iFollow Iron: “We knew that was going to be the case (with McMahon) and we have plenty of options at right-back. It’s something we’ve looked at over the past couple of days and is something we’ll decide on nearer the game.”
He added: “Webby might be a slight doubt. He did some running after the game last Saturday and there was a little hamstring strain.”
That aside, it’s been a good week of preparation for Scunthorpe, who saw a number of players who haven’t been in the first team play a behind-closed-doors friendly away at a strong Rotherham United side on Tuesday, drawing 2-2 through goals from Jordan Hallam and George Hornshaw.
The manager added: “It was really encouraging, giving the lads who have not played much a chance to play against a really strong Rotherham side. They had at least eight players out there who have played first team football and made lots of appearances. The performance was good. Throughout the side, everyone played well.
“For our side, they were very encouraging signs from the lads and these games are certainly benefitting them. Daws (Andy Dawson) and Russ (Wilcox) have had a look back at it and pulled some lads in to go through the clips, so it’s very beneficial.”
Looking ahead to the challenge against Oxford, McCall expects a testing game against a side who he feels has a strong attack.
He said: “I think they put in a terrific performance to win at Blackpool in their last game. They have a lot of quality throughout their side, and I think the forwards on their day can be a real handful. They cause a threat and we have to make sure it’s not their day.
“We’re well aware of what they’ve got on a big park but, likewise, we’ve been through a lot of the things we did well against Doncaster last week and have to take that into Saturday.
“We can be a good side as well. There’s not a lot in this league, it’s just about being consistent. We can’t do with a flat performance like at Gillingham, but recently we’ve not had too many of them. I think it has the makings of a good game, it’s a big pitch so there should be space to play, with two teams trying to win the game. We need as many points as we can as quickly as we can. We’re looking forward to going down there and putting in a strong away performance.
“We’ve rattled on all week about needing a tempo. It’s easy to play in a derby game at home when the crowd’s well up for it. We have to go and play our football at Oxford and be in a positive mood that we can get three points.”
United’s next home game sees them face Bristol Rovers at Glanford Park on Saturday, March 9th (3pm kick-off). Click here for details of our Twin Pack offer, where you can make a big saving on tickets for the Southend United home match three days later. Buy tickets now at www.sufctickets.com.