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Interviews

Neil Cox's team news and views ahead of hosting Colchester

7 December 2020

Scunthorpe boss Neil Cox spoke to iFollow Iron ahead of Tuesday's home league encounter against Colchester United.

The side come into the game off the back of back-to-back wins and winning at the Sands Venue Stadium for the first time since September. A third win in a row would be for the first time in over a year, while it was October 2019 when the Iron last recorded back-to-back home league wins.

Giving his initial thoughts, Cox said: "We're looking forward to another challenge. It's going to be a good game and we're at home looking to pick up three more points. We had a good weekend - we were excellent after the first 15 minutes.

"There have been a lot of stats flying about and there have been some good ones coming our way recently about winning games. We have to make sure we're focused, organised, fit and strong. We are going to try and take our game to them."

Colchester United are the latest visitors to the Sands Venue Stadium and they come into the game off the back of beating the Iron's local rivals Grimsby Town on Saturday evening.

"They're good opponents to play and they've just had a good win against Grimsby on Saturday. It'll be a difficult tie for us. They like to play nice, attractive football and get down the sides. We need to make sure our tempo is right from the start.

"They've had a great start to the season. A new manager has gone in there and done a great job. They've got some good technical players. We're on a good run of form at the minute, so again I'm more worried about what we're going to do, rather what they're going to do."

After two wins out of two and 13 points taken from a possible 18, the temptation is to stick with the same 11 for the third successive game, but the manager knows he must assess the tired bodies in the group to prevent a risk of injuries.

"We've got one or two that are still struggling. We won't pick the side until Tuesday," he continued.

"We have to make sure that everyone is 100-per-cent fit and has no problems. We will go with the best team that I can put out and I will freshen it up if I can. We might not have to, we've got five subs that we can use, but at the end of the day we've got 31 games left. It's not just about one game.

"It's been a big challenge, but we've got a bit more confidence, a bit more belief and more experience in the side. We're organised and we've got a plan on how we want to do things and the boys have stuck to it. I've got to give the boys a lot of credit, they've had a tough time and we've been getting a lot of stick - and rightly so - but now we seem to be on a good run of form after the COVID situation.

"We've got that spark and bite back and the boys are fighting for each other."

Jordan Clarke will be one of those players assessed ahead of the game after playing consecutive league games for the first time since January.

The Iron boss gave an update on his progress: "Jordan is fine. He's one of the boys that has just come back into the side and he's played two games in a short period of time, so we do have to be careful with him.

"He's looked really good since he's come back in, so we will have to make a decision on him on the night. He's a player that I can't afford to miss for a long period of time, so we have to be careful.

Last week, Cox stated that forward Kevin van Veen was training at 80%. An update was given on his progress: "Kev is probably still the same at the moment.

"We're getting some really good days out of him, but he's still a bit sore in the hamstring area, so we are taking our time with him. At the moment, we're on a good run of form, so we need to make sure he's fully fit and doesn't have more problems.

"We don't have to rush him. We want him back fit because we have a lot of big games and important games coming up. He brings out the best of the rest of the players. We're doing well without him in the side at the moment.

"Last time we threw him in too early and that's why we are where we are. This time, we need to get a mini pre-season into him and play him at the right times."

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