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Cox provides update as he previews Exeter trip

22 October 2020

First team manager Neil Cox confirmed assistant manager Mark Lillis has tested positive for COVID-19 when speaking to the press ahead of Saturday's trip to take on Exeter City.

The club wishes Mark a swift and safe recovery, and we look forward to welcoming him back soon.

Due to coming into particular close contact with him, Neil will also have to self-isolate until after next week's home game against Colchester United as we follow Public Health England and EFL COVID-19 guidelines.
 
Neil explained: "My main thoughts are really with Mark and his wife, who have both got COVID-19, so it's a little bit of a shock really and hard to take because Mark's been my side and we're going to miss him. The main focus is making sure they're both alright.
 
"I've spoken a lot to Mark just to make sure he's well. He's fine in himself and he has one or two symptoms, but he's in a good place. He's just disappointed as he feels he's let people down, but we're living in a crazy world at the moment and he just needs to make sure he's positive and looks after the family."
 
Cox added: "I'm fine, but have to self-isolate because I've been close to Mark for a couple of days. I've already had COVID-19 and have got the antibodies so it's a bit of a shock that I have to self-isolate for two weeks because I must have had this five or six months ago. We've had the blood test to say I have the anti-bodies in my body too, but we have to stick by the rules and make sure we're all safe and do everything properly."

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24 October 2020
Switching focus to football, United come into this weekend's game on the back of a narrow 1-0 away loss at high-flying Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.
 
Cox was watching the stream of the game on iFollow Iron and remained in contact with Under-23s manager and goalkeeping coach Paul Musselwhite on the touchline throughout.
 
Scunthorpe gave away an early penalty which was converted by Reuben Reid, but improved as the game went on. Cox said: "We started the game sloppy and on the back foot, and after giving the disappointing penalty away I didn't think there was a lot in the game. We seemed to grow a little in confidence as it went on, and have to take positives from the fact we kept ourselves in it and showed more belief out of the game.
 
"Preparations are going well (for Exeter). We're trying to get everyone settled in and make sure all the players are safe and well, as there are a lot of COVID-19 cases in the Doncaster and South Yorkshire area. We're making sure they're doing everything properly, like we have been constantly at this football club since everybody returned.
 
"I've been watching Exeter and they came back to beat Crawley 2-1 the other night with a great second-half display, and played with a good tempo."
 
Cox concluded with an injury update on Frank Vincent, who missed the trip to Cheltenham through a thigh strain.
 
"It looks like Frank will miss out with that again, so we just have to be careful with the rest of the boys ahead of this one, as it's straight after another long trip," he said.
 
"Michael (McBride, head of medical services) is doing all the reports for me on each individual player.
 
"Junior (Brown), Jordan (Clarke) and 'H' (Harrison McGahey) have to get fit so we'll make sure they'll train hard.
 
"I'm hoping Junior could be fit to play next week but we've got to make sure everything's alright.
 
"Jordan and H will need to come into the fold ASAP and if they can come in next week that would be great. We'll look at them and see if we can get them in as soon as we can.
 
"Fela (Olufela Olomola) played 60 minutes against Huddersfield and, with the exception of one pre-season game (if you add the minutes up), he's barely played since last December so we need to be careful. He has to push himself in training, and work double hard.

"We'll put a team together to go and get a result for us. In adversity, people have to roll their sleeves up and do a job for the team."

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