Ahead of tomorrow evening’s game at Glanford Park, we talk to Scunthorpe fan “Flat Caps ‘n’ Bovril” about the League One clash.
To look ahead to tomorrow’s game, we talked to “Flat Caps ‘n’ Bovril” about the clash between The Iron and Rovers.
What do you make of your team’s transfer window so far?
“All in all, it’s been pretty decent. The manager said from the outset that he wouldn’t be rushed into bringing players in as he wanted the right players, and that certainly played to fruition. We lost experience in David Mirfin (Mansfield) and Stephen Dawson (Bury), but experience was then recruited in the shape of Bradford’s Rory McArdle, who rejected a new deal at Valley Parade to join us, and Matt Gilks who left Wigan. Both of them have been superb so far and have already shored up what was a fairly leaky defence – highlighted by the fact that our ‘onion bag’ hasn’t been breached in four games.
More experience was then drafted in late in the transfer window with Lee Novak and Andrew Crofts completing deadline-day deals from Charlton, so it’s fairly obvious where the manager felt we came up short last season.
But arguably the most impressive piece of business throughout the summer was the signing of a relatively unknown player in defensive midfielder Funso Ojo, a former PSV Eindhoven player who just oozes class and possesses an array of attributes which already appear way above this level. In little over a month, he’s quickly become a fans’ favourite and his signing has certainly made the loss of Dawson much more bearable.”
What do you think of Blackburn Rovers’ summer deals?
“It seems a little crazy that it’s taken Blackburn to get relegated for the club to finally show some ambition.
Some of the signings such as Whittingham, Dack and even Smallwood – who spent a few months on loan with us last season – have shown that the club means business and are intent on a quick return to the Championship. After a slow start, it looks like they’re quickly beginning to gel which is looking ominous for the rest of the division.”
Who is your team’s player to watch and why?
“For the first half of last season, your former player Josh Morris was the talk of Europe. He was outscoring Messi, Ronaldo, Aubameyang – not bad for a midfielder. Then he hit the buffers, so much so that a handful of fans were beginning to lose faith in him. His poor end to the season carried through to the early part of this, until a section of the crowd vociferously condemned the manager’s decision to leave him on in the game against Oxford and he promptly responded with a brilliant individual winner and certainly let the crowd know his feelings as he celebrated.
Since then, barring the Blackpool game a few days ago, he’s been somewhat back to his old self and scored a sublime winner away at Bury last week. If he’s in the mood, he’s literally unplayable, so he’s certainly one to keep an eye on. We do also have flair throughout the squad with Hakeeb Adelakun, Duane Holmes and Kevin van Veen all capable of brilliant match-winning moments.”
How has the first month and a half of your season been?
“Steady would just about sum it up. We’ve not hit top gear, far from it, and it’s debatable that the manager even knows his best side, but one thing is for sure and that’s the 3-5-2 he tried to implement throughout pre-season and during the first couple of games of this was a disaster.
In truth, the players looked lost. Sheffield United and Bolton just about nailed it last season, and I think you have to respect the manager for having the minerals to try and replicate what they were doing, but unless you have the right players throughout that system it fails spectacularly and that was soon in evidence.
Since then, and switching to a more accustomed 4-4-2, the improvement has been telling and we look far more comfortable although there is still something missing, a little guile perhaps, as taking away Morris in his current form it’s difficult to see where the goals are going to come from. Fortunately the defence is water-tight, and any team we face certainly has to conjure up something special to break us down. Blackpool came close to ending our unbeaten start to the season, but Gilks was equal to their best efforts and showed he’s still one of the best keeper’s at this level.”
How do you see your season going?
“Coming so close last season was a real kick in the you know whats. By Christmas, everyone had us home and dry, until the wheels well and truly buckled. An explosive finale to the season ensued that saw us win our final five league games, before eventually succumbing, rather pathetically it has to be said, to an impressive Millwall in the play-off 2nd leg.
Last season was a bruising experience for us fans, and it’s taken a hell of an effort to find the motivation to go again this season. But credit to the manager who has dusted himself down and he appears at least to have sorted our leaky defence, we just seem a little short, somewhere, in the attacking department. That said, I’d still be surprised if there were six teams better than us this season, so I would be disappointed with anything less than a top-six finish. I appreciate there are a number of cracking sides in League One this season, and it could be one of the toughest campaigns in recent times; but with the squad we have and the somewhat bitter experience from the end of last season still fresh in the minds, I firmly believe that we’re well geared for another good campaign.”
What should we expect to see from Scunthorpe United?
“A very well organised, well-drilled side who like to pressure their opponents in the final third. We do win the ball back very quickly in our own half and as a result do often go back-to-front and try to win possession high up and pile the pressure on – not that we’re a long-ball side, as we’re far from an ‘aimless punt into the oppo’s area’ kinda outfit, we just don’t seem at present to be a team comfortable playing out from the back which is surprising as we do have some excellent, composed ball-players in our ranks.
However, the team is full of energy and whilst we’ll never string 20 passes together in one passage of play, mainly down to not being encouraged to do so, every player does leave the pitch having given their all, and that’s all we as fans really can ask of them.”
How do you think the game will go?
“Our home league form over the past 15 months, barring a sticky four-game spell last season, has been generally excellent.
Here we go – WWWWWWDDDWWWDWDWWLDLLWWWWWDWD – so yes, it’s fair to say at home we’re hard to beat. However, as I’ve alluded to in this within these questions, we do appear to be missing something of a spark up the top end and with Blackburn hitting imperious form themselves by winning their last three (scoring eight and conceding just one), this game could prove a little tricky for us to win.”
What score do you think it’ll be and who will score?
“I can see it being tight, so I’m going 1-1. Paddy Madden to open the scoring midway through the 1st half for the Iron, Danny Graham levelling late in the 2nd in front of 4,387.”
A massive thanks to Flat Caps ‘n’ Bovril for taking time out to do this interview. You can find their Twitter at @capsnbovril.