First team manager Jimmy Dean looks ahead to Saturday’s trip to face Brackley Town, as the two teams meet for the fourth time this season.
United played out a goalless draw before losing the replay in the FA Cup, before the first league meeting resulting in a slender Iron win.
First further reflecting on last week’s 2-2 draw against Boston United, Dean said: “I’m still frustrated about it. Boston came and gave a really good account of themselves in the second half.
“I’ve watched the game back, and still maintain we should have been out of sight in the first half. Subs that have worked for us numerous times throughout the season, didn’t come off. Jakey (Butterfield) was a like-for-like at the time.
“They were going long and we were picking up a lot of the first contacts, but they had another player in midfield as they went to the diamond. They were picking up more of the second balls, so we brought Fin (Shrimpton) in there to pick up a few more second balls and get us up the pitch. If one of those counters goes in, it looks like a good decision.
“The last sub was Michael Kelly for Cal (Roberts). Cal’s still coming back from injury, and had a fantastic game. Bringing a full-back on for a winger has helped us four or five times, like Fin has, to see out games this year. This time it didn’t.
“Ultimately, I’m frustrated we didn’t get the win, but we’re still in really good form. We’ve won six and drawn two of the last eight games. There’s lots to be positive about, so we’ll keep doing us.”
Speaking of the Saints and the previous encounters, Dean continued: “They’re a very good team, and a lot of players I know well.
“Going there, there’s a little bit in it. We gave a good performance in the FA Cup and ended up with nine players with Dion (Sembie-Ferris) and Michael Kelly going down injured. It felt unfortunate on the night, but the club wasn’t in a good place either. The statement came out that night. It’s an opportunity to go there and give a good account of ourselves.
“I remember Jakey’s goal (in the reverse fixture), a superb free-kick, which was Michelle’s first game coming in and saving the club. It was emotional, and I felt that watching it at home. This football club has really kicked on since then.”
While Jacob Butterfield took the plaudits in being the difference in the previous encounter, he will be absent from this weekend’s trip to St James Park.
“It’s concussion, so the rules dictate,” he stated.
“He’s not been in this week, he’s back in on Monday. We’re then probably looking at another couple of weeks until he can start playing again. As it stands, he will be unavailable for the Tamworth game, and touch-and-go for the Darlington and Sports game, depending on how much training we can get into him.
“I think we missed him when he went off on Saturday. He controlled the ball and controlled the game. Forget talking about us, if you talk about the league, there’s not been many players better than Jacob Butterfield this season.
“He’s going to be a big miss, but I also maintain that we’ve got good players to come into the team. We’ve got players that we trust, and that’s what we’ll be doing.”
The United boss also commented on other team news within the squad and paid tribute to both Connor Smith and Jack Jenkins who returned to Heart of Midlothian and Leeds United, respectively, following the conclusion of their loan spells.
“Reagan (Ogle) missed training with a groin strain. Hopefully that’s a precaution. (Jason) Lawsy was out injured last week, he’s available for contention,” he began.
“The two loan boys have gone back, and I’d like to thank them for what they did for us.
“We tried to keep Connor - the option was there. We spoke at length with the boy, but it’s not something the league would let us do. It’s frustrating, because we weren’t adding a player on, it’s someone we already had here. Again, it gives someone else the opportunity to come into the team.”
Backed by a tremendous number of around 1,800 away spectators at the Citadel for the Iron’s last trip on the road, the United boss finished by mentioning the fans.
“We’ve got a difficult run of games, January was always going to be tough, and we have a game in hand,” he added.
“We will keep chasing, keep doing us, and not panic, and we need the fans to stay with us. As I alluded to after the Farsley game, that noise and support really carried us. We know it’s not going to be at that level, because it’s not as local and it’s not New Year, but it’s huge for us.
“Whether we’re small in numbers or large in numbers, we need the fans behind us, and we’ll keep striving to produce every week.”