Preview: Scunthorpe United vs Exeter City

The problems in front of goal that saw City drop out of promotion contention last season continue to be an issue, with no shots on target registered in yet another 0-0 draw last Saturday, albeit against a Forest Green side that has been free-scoring so far this term. The good news for Matt Taylor is that City’s availability continues to improve ahead of Saturday’s long away trip, with Nigel Atangana returning off the bench last week and Archie Collins edging closer to fitness, while Taylor has Harry Kite available once again following his red card at Harrogate. Any side containing the firepower of the likes of Padraig Amond, Matt Jay, Jevani Brown and Sam Nombe ought to start scoring at some point, and Taylor will hope the visit to Scunthorpe will be that occasion.

Since dropping to the basement in 2019 life has proven tricky for Scunthorpe, and this season the Iron have been tipped by many to struggle against relegation having narrowly avoided the drop at the expense of near neighbours Grimsby last time. Neil Cox, managing the club where he started his career after a number of years as number 2 to Neal Ardley at AFC Wimbledon and Notts County, has had to endure major constraints on his budget that have seen his squad trimmed of a lot of quality such as Abo Eisa, Alex Gilliead and Kevin Van Veen, while Cox has dipped heavily into the loan market to counter these departures. As expected, Scunthorpe have struggled although with a 1-0 win over Tranmere they have the same number of wins as City. One time City loanee Ryan Loft is one of four players with a goal to their name, but he has been missing for the last month after picking up an injury against Rochdale.

City enjoyed this fixture last season, picking up a maximum six points. The corresponding fixture in March saw City win 2-0 through a Matt Jay free kick and a late clincher through Jack Sparkes. The reverse at the Park was a difficult one for Scunthorpe, who to their credit played the fixture despite a Covid outbreak that saw their manager and several players out of action. The match finished 3-1 – City led 2-0 at half time through Randall and Jay, Rowe pulled one back after the break only for Jake Taylor to seal the points late on. Those wins closed the gap in league head to heads, with Scunthorpe leading 23-19, 14 matches finishing level.

The match officials for the game will be:-

Referee: Carl Brook
Assistant Referees: Mark Dwyer and Akil Howson
Fourth Official : Richard Wigglesworth

Just the two games in charge of Exeter City for Carl Brook

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