Manager Keith Hill believes the wins at Walsall and Rotherham United will give the players confidence and belief going into Saturday’s League One fixture at Glanford Park.
Speaking ahead of the game against Scunthorpe United, Hill commented: “There’s no question about that, it does [give them belief and confidence].
“During the week against Fleetwood was just a missed opportunity, and we’ve got 11 more opportunities, so we know what we need to do and the players know what they need to do.
“The only thing I was concerned about was the possibility of a negative slide after Tuesday’s game, but we’ve picked the players up and we’ve given them a good amount of time to rest because psychologically they’re constantly preparing for playing game after game after game, which can get on top of you a little bit, but we’re happy to play football.
“The players have to embrace it and attack it, whether it’s Scunthorpe or Shrewsbury or Bury away. They got to attack the critics and attack the opponent – it’s amazing when you attack back and you shout, or when you’re aggressive and assertive, how many people are put on the back foot.”
Scunthorpe missed out on promotion to the Championship last season, after they were edged out by Millwall in the play-off semi-finals. This season, a play-off spot looks to be on the cards once more, with the Iron currently sat fifth in the League One table.
“They were very unfortunate last season. Scunthorpe are up there and they need points to consolidate or to make a late run into the top three, but they are a team who should be in the top six,” said Hill.
“I listened to their Chairman and read what he said in his notes last season about how the EFL should have done more about the situation surrounding teams who’ve got embargoes and teetering on the edge of administration, and I support what he says, because I’m all for an even playing field. I thought he did a great article but he got pilloried for it, which is got to be expected in modern day society.
“Scunthorpe are a well-run club and they’ve got a budget that should be in the promotion mix up. They’ve got a good manager and a good set of players, and they’re in the groove again this season, so we’ve got to create an upset like we did when we went to Rotherham.”
Reflecting on Tuesday night’s defeat to Fleetwood Town, Hill says it’s becoming obvious that teams are coming to the Crown Oil Arena with one intention.
“We didn’t play well on Tuesday night – there was no real energy and the game itself wasn’t a great game to watch. Having looked through the game again, I couldn’t really say that there was an assertive effort from the opponents to win the game, and that’s what we’re bumping into at home, when you look at the AFC Wimbledon and Southend games. They’re sitting deep and they’re frustrating, and it’s up to our players to work it out and be a little bit more adventurous and take ownership of playing at home. That’s important because we have so many home games still to play, so we’ve got to embrace it and we’ve got to enjoy it because the pressures are minimal.
“Like I said in previous interviews, people have already written us off, and the celebrations after the game the other night would suggest that Fleetwood are safe, but for Fleetwood to only have four or five shots at goal over the course of 90 minutes, shows the tactics that teams are turning up with, because that was also evident in the two games before that.
“But like I’ve said, the players have got to embrace it, they’ve got to play free, and to be honest, I’d rather be beaten 5-0 than potentially lose in the manner that we did the other night when a team has robbed us with negative tactics.
“We can’t subscribe to that type of game – we’ve got to be braver. We got into some unbelievable positions in behind and then fluffed our lines, whether that be with bad cross, running the ball out of play or not picking the right option, and these are all mental obstacles that we have to overcome, because we’re now playing against teams that want to come to Rochdale and basically park the bus.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.