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Gilliead ready for return to competitive action

4 September 2020

Alex Gilliead can’t wait to get started again ahead of the Iron’s match up with Port Vale in the Carabao Cup on Saturday.

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5 September 2020

The home tie marks a first league or cup outing for 182 days since League Two came to a halt in March.

Though after a far from ordinary break from competitive football, midfielder Gilliead is ready to get underway under new manager Neil Cox.

Gilliead, who will captain the side against the Valiants, reflected on pre-season with the new gaffer to iFollow Iron: “It’s obviously been hard but it’s been good.

“With the gaffer coming in obviously he’s put his plans in place for us and we’ve had to adjust and work towards him - nothing too dissimilar to what other managers want; hard work, doing the basics well and playing attacking good football.”

Looking back on three outings in pre-season, Gilliead added: “We’ve had some good games where we’ve learned a lot."

One of those was the latest test against higher league opposition Watford - a 1-0 defeat proving a very good work out against a side relegated from the Premier League this summer.

Despite defeat, the benefits were clear to see from Gilliead’s point of view.

He said: “You kind of need one of those games within pre-season where you’re not going to have much of the ball.

“I feel first-half, and throughout the game, we kept a good defensive shape and second-half in particular we got at them (Watford) and created some good opportunities.

“It’s always good to have those kind of games to get the fitness levels up as well.”

The 24-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the Watford encounter and will be hoping to start where he left off after starting in 33 of the Iron’s 37 league outings in 2019/20. 

And he is raring to go after a situation he described as “very frustrating for everyone; the fans and everyone included (at the club).”

He added: “It’s been a long time and we’re nearly here and we just need to kind of keep going and keep ourselves ticking over.

“We’ve done all the hard work within the last couple of weeks and now it’s doing the finer details for the games coming up."

The return to action sees Iron pitted against fellow League Two opposition Port Vale in the Carabao Cup first round.

The Valiants were unfortunate to miss out on a League Two play-off place through the points-per-game ruling (PPG) last season, however the Iron managed to earn four points against Vale from the two league games with Gilliead’s goal in the away match helping towards a 2-2 draw. 

“From playing them last year they’re a very good side”, said Gilliead.

“It’s a tough start in the cup but it will be a good test for us all.”

Regardless of his respect for Vale, the midfielder remains confident that Iron have the capabilities of beating their fellow League Two opponents. 

“It’s a game we’re definitely going in there thinking we can win and we want to win," he said.

“We will all be making sure we put our best foot forward for the start of the season.”

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

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