City can now concentrate on the league after lightning struck twice in EFL Trophy fixtures against Portsmouth – City leading 2-1 approaching the final whistle only to concede twice at the death. That extended City’s winless run to six, but improved performances since the Covid-inspired break despite a ravaged squad at least point to hope that the run will end soon. Matt Taylor has utilised the loan marked to boost his resources, with Offrande Zanzala joining on loan from Barrow – the Congolese striker looks to fill the Sam Nombe-sized hole in City’s attack and is likely to go straight into the side on Saturday. Nombe himself is thought to be making good progress following his injury but is still some way off returning, while Pierce Sweeney managed 45 minutes on his comeback following the injury he picked up against Tranmere.
Tipped to struggle, Scunthorpe have done just that, currently sitting three points off safety having played two games more than the side above them. In a bid to beat the drop the Iron have turned to someone with vast experience at this level in Keith Hill, but the former Rochdale and Tranmere boss hasn’t yet worked the oracle, his side having recorded just one win (against fellow strugglers Oldham) since beating Crawley in October – indeed Scunthorpe have recorded just three wins all season, their last match on Saturday a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Hill’s former club Tranmere. Former City loanee Ryan Loft has departed in the transfer window, the giant striker moving to Bristol Rovers, denuding Scunthorpe of their top scorer so far this season with six in all competitions. Myles Hippolyte will therefore now be the chief goal threat, he has been in decent form of late and has four goals so far, while George Taft lends experience at the back.
City were rampant on their visit to Glanford Park back in September, trouncing their hosts 4-0 through a brace from Matt Jay and further goals from Josh Key and Tim Dieng. Scunthorpe were ravaged by Covid for their visit to the Park last season and were soundly beaten 3-1 – Randall and Jay put City 2-0 up at the break, Rowe reduced the arrears before Jake Taylor sealed the points late on. City’s three successive wins in this fixture have reduced the league head to head deficit, Scunthorpe ahead 23-20 with 14 matches finishing level.
The match officials for the game will be:-
Referee: Craig Hicks
Assistant Refreees: Robert Dabbs and Michael Begley
Fourth Official : Justin Amey
Craig Hicks has taken charge of seven Exeter games, details at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=craig+Hicks