Scunthorpe United manager Graham Alexander is expecting another tight game against the Cobblers this weekend when the two clubs reconvene for Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash at Sixfields.
Scunthorpe got the better of Northampton in Tuesday’s FA Cup first round replay at Glanford Park but both teams were missing several key players, with Josh Morris and Neal Bishop among those absent for the home side.
I thought our performance was very good the other night, but it was only 1-0. We have to make sure we do things right on and off the ball to make sure follow up that result with another good result. We’re not underestimating Northampton’s qualities.
Bishop is back from suspension this weekend but Morris seems unlikely to start having suffered a hamstring injury last weekend while United also have Andrew Crofts and Clayton Lewis back from international duty.
The Cobblers too are expected to field a much stronger side after being without Matt Ingram and Matt Grimes on Tuesday, with John-Joe O’Toole and Lewis McGugan only on the bench.
“We were missing some important players as well,” Alexander told www.scunthorpe-united.co.uk. “I thought that evened itself out the other night.
“I would also suggest they will make some changes and we’ve got some tough decisions to make before Saturday, whether to bring players back in or stick with the players that played so well.
“I don’t think either team will change dramatically from how they want to play and the personnel. Whatever formation or personnel we put out we will still have to run hard, work hard for each other, pass the ball, commit to our attacking game and defend well. All the fundamentals on how we want to play will stay the same.”
Alexander was pleased with Tuesday’s performance at Glanford Park, won via Hakeeb Adelakun’s superb first-half goal, but has urged his side to be more clinical in front of goal this Saturday after they spurned numerous good chances to make it a more comfortable evening.
The former Luton and Burnley player added: “We know we created some real good opportunities the other night and could have scored more. We need to take advantage of our attacking play by being a bit more clinical in front of goal and we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal.
“I don’t want to take away the shine from the performance and the result, but we have to make sure we constantly try and improve on the things we feel we can improve on.”
Set to face Northampton for a third time in two weeks, the league is the focus for Alexander when his team, currently fifth in the table, travel down to Sixfields where they will be bidding to extend their unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions.
“It’s another big game for us because we want to get three points,” he continued. “We know the toughness of playing against them, as they’ve been two tight games.
“I thought our performance was very good the other night, but it was only 1-0. We have to make sure we do things right on and off the ball to make sure follow up that result with another good result. We’re not underestimating Northampton’s qualities.”