Keith Hill’s Scunthorpe United have had a tough season so far, finding themselves in the bottom spot of Sky Bet League Two with 23 points in 34 games. However, league position does not tell the tale entirely, as Scunthorpe defeated Crawley earlier in the season in Lincolnshire, and also recently recorded a victory over Walsall in league competition.
Goals have been the hardest thing for the Iron this season, as Hill’s side have scored the least in League Two, having Miles Hippolyte as their top scorer with four. As well as the impressive win over Walsall in February, Scunny also held high-flying Northampton to a 0-0 draw just two weeks ago in a top defensive display, proving there are still promising signs for the claret and blue.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Rory Watson - goalkeeper
Englishman Rory Watson is the man most likely to line up in between the sticks for Scunthorpe United this afternoon. The 26-year-old has made 31 appearances in Sky Bet League Two this season, keeping five clean sheets in the process. The former Hull City youth product is currently playing in his second spell at the Sands Venue Stadium. Watson spent a short period on loan to the Iron in 2015. Watson signed a permanent deal in 2017, having been released by the Tigers.
Hayden Hackney - midfielder
Hayden Hackney will be looking to cause the Reds trouble from the Scunthorpe midfield this afternoon. The centre-midfielder is currently on loan to Scunthorpe United Middlesborough. After impressive performances for Middlesbrough’s Under-18s and Under-23s, the midfielder scored the winner against Burton Albion to give them their first-ever win in the Football League Trophy. Hackney, who signed his first professional deal two years ago, made his senior debut when he started in their FA Cup third-round match against Brentford in January 2021 before his league bow on the final day of last season against Wycombe Wanderers. He was rewarded with a new contract this summer.
Liam Feeney - midfielder
Many Reds fans will be familiar with the name Liam Feeney. The veteran midfielder will likely line up in the Iron’s midfield this afternoon. The 35-year-old has made around 600 appearances, scoring almost 50 goals in a very decorated EFL career. The Englishman has made over 200 Championship appearances, 125 in League One and 120 in League Two. Feeney linked up with former boss Keith Hill in January, having spent the first half of the season at Tranmere Rovers. Whilst Feeney is not necessarily a goalscoring threat, his year’s worth of experience could be vital this afternoon.
Earlier this season, Crawley made the long trip to Glanford Park to take on an out-of-form Scunthorpe side, and the opposition proved to be no easy task, defeating the Reds 2-1 as Kwesi Appiah’s consolation was not enough to bring back a point to West Sussex.
Last campaign, in our first home fixture of the season, Crawley were 1-0 victors over the Iron thanks to a goal from Tom Nichols. Scunthorpe shared 62% of possession and had double the efforts on goal but Crawley defended well to keep a clean sheet and pick up three points.
We then travelled to North Lincolnshire in April where we saw out a stalemate draw. The game saw only two shots on target which both came from the Reds, as despite sharing slightly less possession, looked the side who could potentially put one in the back of the net.
In the season previous, we faced the Irons on three occasions, with over three goals being scored in each game. In August of 2019, we travelled to the Sands Venue Stadium, picking up a 2-2 draw which saw the Reds score 2 equalising goals, through Bez Lubala and Nathan Ferguson, with Josh Dacres-Cogley the provider for both.
The Irons later travelled to The People’s Pension Stadium in November, in the first round of the FA Cup. Going into the final 10 minutes, it was all square at 1-1, with Ashley Nadesan’s first half goal being cancelled out by a Ryan Colclough effort. But two emphatic strikes from Reece Grego-Cox and a goal from Ashley Nathaniel George, saw the Reds run out 4-1 victors and through to the second round.
On the first day of February we took Scunthorpe on for the third time, and on this occasion under current Manager John Yems. 3-1 was the final score with first half goals from Jordan Tunnicliffe, Reece Grego-Cox and Ollie Palmer, meaning we had netted 9 past the Irons within three competitive games.
HOW THEY BET*
Crawley Town 3/4
Scunthorpe United 15/4
*Odds correct on EFL betting partner SkyBet at the time of writing, please gamble responsibly.