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Manager set to return to old stomping ground

22 February 2021

First team manager Neil Cox is looking forward to taking the Iron to one of his former sides on Tuesday, as United go looking for a fifth win in a row.

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23 February 2021

Scunthorpe returned to action at the weekend following a three-week break to continue their good run of form, while the Trotters come into the game having won their last three matches and four of their last five.

Speaking ahead of a return to the University of Bolton Stadium, he said: “We’re looking forward to the test. They’re on a good run of form and so are we.

“I’m looking forward to a good challenge. They’ll be looking for automatic promotion and we want to keep climbing up the league. We’re going to concentrate on what we’re going to do and we have to keep the ball a bit better than we did on Saturday.

“We’re fresh and ready to go. I spent nearly three years at that football club and Mark (Howard), Jem (Karacan) and (George) Taft have all been there. They will all want to do well going back there.”

United are a different team from the one that faced Bolton in the reverse fixture at the Sands Venue Stadium earlier in the season, but even so, the team were disappointed to be edged out by a single goal, with a draw looking the most likely result.

“We’re a better side now than we were then,” he continued.

“We are more organised and we’re a bit fitter. We have more belief in the side too. Then, we changed our formation to combat them which worked at the time, but we didn’t have enough belief in front of goal. Now we look like we’re going to score goals and defensively we are doing quite well at the moment, so hopefully we can continue that.”

Manny Onariase was withdrawn midway through the second half and is 50-50 going into this encounter, according to the Iron boss, while returnees Jordan Clarke, Jem Karacan and Kevin van Veen - the latter who played 31 minutes as a substitute - all came through their minutes.

“Manny has got a bit of a sore groin at the moment, so we have to be careful with him,” he stated.

“He’s probably 50-50. We’ve got a lot of games left and we don’t want it to be a long-term problem. Manny is pushing and wants to play, but if we think it’s right to leave him out, then we will do.

“Harrison (McGahey) will be in the squad. JB (Jacob Bedeau) did really well when he came on, so I’ve got people in that position who can fight for a place. Is it too soon for Harrison to start? We’ll have to wait and see.

“Everybody else is fit and raring to go. I’ve got 22 players fit and I can only take 18, so I have to disappoint people at the minute. Everyone is fighting hard to keep their shirt.

“I took Jem off after 70 minutes as a precaution and to get some fresh legs on and he feels fine. Jordan did really well to get through 90 minutes and Kev did well to get some minutes under his belt. He was a little bit rusty and knows that himself, but he’s raring to go.”

Elsewhere in the squad, Teddy Howe has been absent from training for a couple of days, while right-back/midfielder George Hornshaw and goalkeeper Adam Kelsey will be out of action for some time with them both undergoing operations.

“Teddy has missed a few days of training. He’s had some really hard sessions and we’ve pushed him,” he said.

“We gave him a couple of days off to rest a sore hamstring but he’s back in training and pushing himself.

“George has had an ankle operation. He’s been in today (Monday), but will probably face a few months out. (Adam) Kelsey has gone for an operation this morning. I feel for them both because it’s this stage of the season but we’ll take care of them and make sure we’ll get them fit.

“Adam collided with a goal post in training and did his ankle, so he’s gone for his operation today and hopefully it’ll not be too long before he gets back fit.”

See much more from Neil Cox on iFollow Iron. Click here to get your Bolton Wanderers v Iron iFollow match pass.

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