Crawley may be wondering how they finished the game the losing team, but City won’t mind as the somewhat fortuitous 2-1 win sets them up nicely during an exceptionally busy run of matches over the next few weeks. Ryan Bowman contributed his first goal of the season plus an assist, both of which he knew very little about, and will hope his contributions were enough to get him back into the starting XI. Matt Taylor rotated his full backs too on Tuesday night, with Jack Sparkes and Jake Caprice coming in for Lewis Page and Josh Key, but this could have been purely to give the latter pair a rest so both may well be back in on Saturday. Matt Jay too will be hoping to return having warmed the bench against Crawley.
The smart money pre-season appeared to be on Scunthorpe to struggle, and early form has done little to dispel this, with the Iron currently sitting one off the bottom after five straight defeats in all competitions. The 1-0 defeat at Cheltenham on Tuesday represented something of an improvement in fact, following 1-4 and 0-5 home thrashings in their previous two matches. Neil Cox, the long time assistance to Neal Ardley at AFC Wimbledon and Notts County, will be under pressure to deliver the results to move his home town club away from the bottom. Cox had to deal with a number of departures over the summer, including Rory McArdle, who will no doubt be upset to miss the match with his knee injury. In have come a number of players mainly from non-league, plus a familiar face in Ryan Loft, who endured a torrid loan spell with City a few seasons back. Midfield will see Jake Taylor go against Jake Taylor, with Scunthorpe signing the Nottingham Forest player on loan after a similar spell at Port Vale last season.
There was only one match between the sides last season due to the early league shutdown, and that saw City make the long trip on a Tuesday night in October and suffer a comprehensive 3-1 defeat just days after going down 4-0 at Cambridge. Perch gave the hosts the lead which was quickly cancelled out by Jay, only for Ward and Gilliead to seal the points. The last time Scunthorpe visited the Park was a memorable occasion in 2014 when City, needing a win to guarantee their league survival against promoted opposition, won 2-0 – Craig Woodman scored a stunner for what turned out to be his only City goal, before Jimmy Keohane sealed the points in the second half. Scunthorpe hold the league head to head lead with 23 wins to City’s 17, 14 matches finishing level.
The match officials will be:-
Referee: David Rock
Assistant Referees: Daniel Flynn and Richard Morris,
Fourth Official: Michael Begley
David Rock has refereed just the one Exeter game, the 3-3 draw at home to Walsall.