Cup games can go one of two ways – they either provide a welcome distraction from the league or do the complete opposite and derail both your momentum and good form.
After only managing 1 point from their opening 6 games, it’s fair to say that the EFL Trophy fixture against Grimsby couldn’t have come at a better time for Scunthorpe. In a performance that was much more befitting of a side managed by Paul Hurst, the Iron played some decent stuff and registered a 2-1 win against their Humberside rivals. But can this victory be the catalyst for the team to kick on and move up the table? And if so, how?
A Closer Look at the Grimsby Victory
First of all, let’s just remind ourselves that it’s 15 matches (and 175 days, but who’s counting?) since the Iron registered a competitive win. The fact that the team broke their duct at Blundell Park is simply a reminder of how weird and wonderful football can be. Although Grimsby fielded a less than full strength team, a win over your local rivals can do absolutely wonders for the confidence of the team. And that’s all it boils down to. Confidence. Because this is a group of players who, on paper, have more than enough to be challenging at the right end of the table. Despite Ryan Colclough and Kevin Van Veen bossing the game for large parts, Hurst is keen for the latter to pull his socks up and put more effort in; an accusation that has been thrown around all too often at the Dutch forward over the years.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! The Iron lead and it’s… pic.twitter.com/P1d8u7cIJI
— Scunthorpe United FC (@SUFCOfficial) September 3, 2019
Make Glanford Park Great Again
Much of the Iron’s success in recent years has been built on a solid, home foundation. Granted, the team have found points difficult to come by in recent months no matter what the venue. However, the travelling crowd against Grimsby were fantastic and vocal, something which needs to be carried over to the games at Glanford Park. Teams used to be scared of coming to Glanford Park – the 2017/2018 end of season play-off run in immediately springs to mind. Under Hurst, this needs to once again become the case. However, it won’t happen overnight.
Patience Is Key
New manager. Eleven new players. You know where this is going. Although the start is concerning, we are only 6 games into the season and progress takes time. Hurst needs time to stamp his authority on the team with regards to the style he wants to deploy. In terms of personnel, the club did some very good business over the summer. With highly-rated players such as Kgosi Nthle, Jamie Proctor, George Miller and Alex Gillead on board for the season, the Iron have one of the most capable and versatile squads in the division if (and it’s a big if) everyone plays to their potential. Incidentally, the bookmakers seem to subscribe to the if statement. Despite their dreadful start, the Iron are still only 10/1 to achieve promotion this season in the football betting markets. But in Hurst, the club has the right man at the helm. He just needs time.
40 Games to Go
There are still 120 points to play for. After the tough away trip to Mansfield is out of the way, the Iron have a decent run of fixtures in which they should be looking to pick up some points. In League Two, the large majority of teams can beat each other and results largely come down to momentum and a little bit of luck. So far, Scunthorpe have had neither. But the Grimsby win could well change this.