Iron manager Neil Cox has spoken of a positive week of preparations as his Scunthorpe side head to out of form Colchester on the back of only a second win of the League Two season.
The 2-1 win against Crawley last Saturday meant United were able to bring themselves back to within touching distance of the sides around them, albeit still sitting at the summit of the division.
There will be plenty of optimism as Cox’s side head to Essex on Saturday, and the squad has been buoyed by the return of midfielder Alex Kenyon, who has been injured since late August.
One training session this week had seen an in-house match played, with the intention of helping some players regain their fitness after spells out.
Speaking to the club’s iFollow account, Cox said: “Everybody got through it really well.
“We had a 70 minute game played at a really good tempo. (Academy manager) Tony Daws brought the youth team down, and we mixed and matched a little bit, which was good.
“It gave me a chance to look at some of the academy players coming through, and also get fitness into the boys who needed it, who haven’t played many games.
“Alex Kenyon got through it and it was important for him as he’s been out for a long time. He’s back earlier than we thought, but we’ve pushed him hard.
“Tyrone (O’Neill) played as well. He’s had a lot of injuries but has just come back into the first team squad recently and we’re looking for him to push on now. Both were really blowing in the game but it’s much-needed minutes.
“We tried to arrange games with other clubs but it’s been difficult because of Covid issues, which we have to be careful with.”
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Speaking about the small turnaround in the club’s fortunes of the past couple of games, Cox said:
“We’ve had good performances in the last three games and shown a bit of character after a disappointing result at Harrogate.
“The four points in the last week (with a point away at Barrow too) helped the confidence and that’s what we need. We go into the game knowing that if we get a win we can get back level on points with them (with the Iron 24th and Colchester 19th), and our focus is on getting back into the pack and putting pressure on teams in and around us.
“We’re just focusing on the next game, and we face a team that were beaten at home on Tuesday night. We have to focus on doing our job and getting the three points.
“Colchester have had a young team over the last few years, but have brought a lot of experience in this season including Freddie Sears, one of our ex-players.
“We have to do our homework, defend really well but also play better going forward, keeping the ball better and create more chances.
“There have been good things going and a lot of positivity around the place. We now need to make sure we keep people fit and firing, while being braver in possession, which we’ve worked on all week, and go out there having a right good go again.”