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Hill looking forward to playing in front of the home supporters again

30 December 2021

First team manager Keith Hill has challenged his players to register back-to-back wins for the first time this season, as the Iron begin 2022 with a home encounter against Carlisle United.

Scunthorpe beat Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day to move off the bottom of the table and will be looking to put further distance between the drop zone while also overtaking their latest opponents with victory over Carlisle United at the Sands Venue Stadium.

Speaking ahead of the side’s first fixture of the new calendar year, he told iFollow Iron: “We believe it’s going to be on. We are 100 per cent certain that we can fulfil the requirements of the fixture.

“We’re excited by the challenge that Carlisle represents. They’ve been inconsistent over the course of the season. I know Keith Millen really well. We did our A licenses together back in the day. He’s gone in there to try and turn their fortunes around, much like I am trying to do at Scunthorpe.

“We’re at home as well, which we haven’t had for a while. We’ve had three games on the bounce away from home, and it would be nice to play in front of our home supporters.

“The supporters have done tremendously well to go to Stevenage, Hartlepool and Oldham and support the players. They’ve got their rewards. To get five points from three away games is testament to the players’ character.”

It’s been a few weeks of changed plans for the Iron, with the last two games on home soil called off due to COVID issues within the opposition camps of Bristol Rovers and Northampton Town, respectively.

For Hill, that has represented challenges, but also opportunities, with the manager hoping that it’s third time lucky this weekend in terms of putting on a game.

“The result on Boxing Day was superb, but we switched quickly to preparing for the demands of the game against Northampton,” he continued.

“It was quickly realised on Monday that the game was going to get called off. It was then about readjusting the plan making sure we are ready for the Carlisle game. It could be a blessing in disguise, but we were disappointed at the time. We do still see the Northampton game as an opportunity whenever we now play them.”

The Iron go into 2022 unbeaten in five games having lost just one of seven league games since Hill took charge.

With that first win now on the board, the challenge is to back it up: “We’ve got to continue with that upward momentum. We’ve got to keep striving to be resilient, like we were. We weren’t at our best in the first half on Sunday, but we got to half time where we could make changes.

“General fitness is very good, but we are constantly being disrupted with regular COVID tests, which is right. It’s something we have to do to safeguard ourselves. The majority of the players are up to speed. We’re getting a lot of good work into them.

With a final word on the January Transfer Window, which opens this weekend, he added: “Always busy in January, always. We’ve got to try and be in a better position from a squad depth and squad ability point of view, than we are now.”

See much more from Keith Hill and Tom Pugh on iFollow Iron.


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