Inside track: The reasons behind Scunthorpe's slow start, what fans think of Paul Hurst and the curious case of Kevin van Veen
Scunthorpe United were one of the favourites for promotion this season but a poor start has left them struggling down in 22nd place with just one win in 12 games.
To find out what's going on at Glanford Park ahead of Saturday's big game, we asked Paul Crute of the Scunthorpe Telegraph to give us the lowdown...
What has been the reason behind Scunhtorpe's slow start to the season?
I think at the start of the season, there was still a little bit of a hangover from last season, with the same defensive mistakes still happening.
Slowly but surely that seems to be eradicated and the Iron recently have not conceded goals in bunches as they had been doing. Harrison McGahey and Rory McArdle have formed a good partnership in the centre of defence.
Hurst has also struggled with a number of injuries earlier on in the season but those problems have eased.
The striking department has been at times pretty light, and Scunthorpe did struggle for goals early on but with Jamie Proctor and Jamie Ward signing and Kevin van Veen and Lee Novak returning from injury things look better in that area.
Now the injuries have lightened, the Iron’s form has improved slowly, with just one defeat in their last five league games.
What do fans think of Paul Hurst?
For some the jury is still out on him but the recent improvement in form, fans are slowly warming to him.
His signings, on the whole, have been decent, and now they have settled they are starting to put in good performances.
I don’t think even Hurst envisaged the size of the task he took on at Scunthorpe and it was always going to take some time to get things right.
But now he looks like he has found close to his best side, has brought in the players he wants (12 in all) and now they are starting to gel.
He has also had to deal with a really bad injury list but with players returning performances have improved.
There is still a long way to go but the signs are positive moving forward.
How has Kevin van Veen fared since his return?
It has been a bit hard to judge Kev so far due to his limited game time this season.
Before the season started Paul Hurst said he was on the periphery of the first team but then got injured after the first game of the season which kept him out until September.
But he scored twice in his comeback game against Grimsby in the EFL Trophy and followed that up with two goals in his last three games, but he did miss a golden chance against Plymouth last weekend.
Hurst knows what a talented player he is and he slowly seems to be getting the message through to the Dutchman about his workrate and he has linked up well with Jamie Proctor recently.
There were times last season, especially in the big relegation match against Bradford, where he didn’t look interested and everybody knows this is the side of his game he needs to improve on.
He didn’t get too much of a look in last season but if he continues his form he has shown in his last few matches he could be a valuable player