First team manager Neil Cox has expressed his thoughts on the Iron taking on Manchester City Under-21s in their second group stage match of the EFL Trophy, alongside an update about Jordan Clarke and Kenan Dünnwald-Turan.
Cox had his first win as a manager against Carlisle on Saturday and is looking to carry it on in the EFL Trophy group stages on Tuesday,. He said: “It’s good to be back in, the boys trained really well on Monday morning. I’m going to have to make a few changes to the side to get some fresh legs in and some people need some fitness work.
“We have worked on how we are going to play and will put a strong side out, but people need to show me what they can do.”
With the competition rules being slightly different compared to the league, Cox admitted it's a juglling act. He commented: “It’s a bit of a problem because I’ve not got many players that have played over 40 games. So, we are going to have to play one or two that have already played, even though I wanted to rest them.
“We have to get on with it and put in a professional performance. If we can change a couple in the later part of the game that’s what we will do.
“But it gives an opportunity to other players to show me what they can do. They keep telling me what they can do, and now I need them to start showing me.”
However, he explained that he is looking forward to the performance as it will be very different to Saturday. He said: “On Saturday it was League Two blood and thunder and we are going to have to be patient and careful with our defending but more aggressive, and better on the ball.
“We have to pass the ball better and create more opportunities to score goals.
“Manchester City will keep look to keep possession, they will make angles, play it out from the back, and start moves through their goalkeeper. It’s going to be a difficult game for us.”
Talking about academy teams in the EFL Trophy as a whole, he mentioned: “Two years ago, the league teams used to bully them from set plays, corners, freekicks, and just in general play. But I think they look after themselves a little bit better now.
“Younger players understand that you have to be more physical. A lot of Premier League teams are sending boys out on loan to the lower leagues for that part of their development, and I think it’s beneficial for them.
“They (Manchester City) have got three of four that have played and come through into the first team, and I think that is brilliant for a Premier League club that they will play their boys in the Under-23’s and then go onto the first team."
Continuing on, he spoke about the changes that need to be made for the match ahead: “It’s about winning games and carrying on from Saturday. We need to get on a run of form, keep winning and also keep clean sheets. That’s what I’m looking for.
“We have to be better in the final third and we know that. We still have to defend with that intensity, but just be a little bit better on the ball and possession.”
Cox also gave an update on Jordan Clarke and his state of play, with the defender missing the season so far through a calf injury. The boss said: “He would have started but he felt his thigh a little bit at the end of training (on Monday), so we have pulled him out just to make sure.
“He is a little bit sore at the moment, so we will have to take a look at him and hopefully he will be fine.
“We have to take precautions with players, we don’t want anyone injured and out for a long period of time, so we are just being cautious.”
Kenan Dünnwald-Turan (groin) will also return back to training on Thursday after picking up a knock prior to the Carlisle fixture. Cox is hopeful he should be fully fit and be back in the squad on Saturday.
Last season, United knocked City out of the competition in the Northern Area Quarter-Final stage, and Cox is looking to do it again: “I watched the game back and Scunthorpe played with a strong side. Kev (van Veen) played well on the night. But I think they will be a little bit better than they were last year, and it will be a tough test."
See much more from Neil Cox on iFollow Iron. Click here to buy a £10 match pass for the Iron vs Man City U21s.