IRON SO MUCH WISER AT BACK

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Luke Baker

WITH more goals than any other League One side and the di­vi­sion’s top scorer in their ranks, Scun­thorpe’s at­tack­ing prow­ess has de­servedly at­tracted plenty of at­ten­tion. The Iron have scored 41 league goals in 20 games. No other side have more than 34. Josh Mor­ris has scored 14 of them, but al­low Scott Wise­man to make a case for the de­fence. Scun­thorpe’s back-line has tight­ened al­most be­yond be­lief in re­cent times. Be­fore last week’s 1-1 draw with Ox­ford, Gra­ham Alexan­der’s troops had kept three clean sheets in a row and con­ceded just once in their five pre­vi­ous league games. Even that mi­nor blem­ish came once they were 4-0 up against Swin­don. Coven­try and Old­ham were dis­patched 1-0 in that run and, wor­ry­ingly for their op­po­nents, the free-scor­ing Iron sud­denly seem to re­quire only one goal to col­lect max­i­mum points. It’s some­thing that gives right-back Wise­man plenty of sat­is­fac­tion. “I’m mas­sively proud of the de­fence,” he said. “As de­fend­ers we pride our­selves on keep­ing clean sheets. “It’s im­por­tant for us to pro­tect our goalie as much as we can. So, for us to keep four on the spin this month and play a big part in the team stay­ing top of the league is huge. “I think the credit for the de­fence will come at the end of the sea­son, though. Dur­ing the year you’re look­ing at the names do­ing well like Josh Mor­ris – and rightly so be­cause he’s do­ing phe­nom­e­nally. “Come the end of the sea­son, we’ll take stock and re­ally get a good av­er­age of how well we’ve done de­fen­sively.” The miserly de­fence means only Bolton have now con­ceded fewer League One goals than Scun­thorpe’s 17, but, more im­por­tantly, Wise­man and Co en­tered De­cem­ber four points clear at the top. Last week­end’s draw with Ox­ford at Glan­ford Park also brought up a new club record of 22 home games un­beaten, some­thing he ad­mits sneaked up on the squad.

“We’ve been made aware of it but it wasn’t some­thing we were fo­cused on,” ex­plained Wise­man, 31. “We’ve been tak­ing it a game at a time and, sud­denly, it’s got to this point where we’re break­ing records.

“But we don’t in­tend to end that run any time soon. We’re aim­ing to keep it go­ing on Tues­day (against More­cambe in the Check­a­trade Tro­phy).

“We know how strong we need to be at home if we want to be chal­leng­ing at the top come the end of the year.

“There’s a rea­son why peo­ple say that if you win most of your home games, you will be there or there­abouts come April. That’s what we in­tend to do.”

Dot­ted

As Scun­thorpe make a con­certed pro­mo­tion push, Wise­man’s ex­pe­ri­ence of get­ting out of the third tier should prove in­valu­able.

The Gi­bral­tar in­ter­na­tional helped Pre­ston re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship at the end of 2014-15 as part of a squad dot­ted with stars such as Jer­maine Beck­ford and Joe Garner.

He says the at­mos­phere at Glan­ford Park this year is even more en­joy­able with a team that are prov­ing an in­cred­i­bly tough nut to crack.

“Con­fi­dence is sky-high,” he added. “I’ve been for­tu­nate to be in­volved with a cou­ple of teams that have done well and this is up there with them.

“This is the same sort of feel­ing I’ve had at those clubs, but this is a unique sit­u­a­tion. When I was at Pre­ston, there was an ex­pec­ta­tion we would go up with the size of the squad, the bud­get and the big-name play­ers.

“Here there are no star names, just lads work­ing hard for each other and the team.

“It feels like a group of mates play­ing to­gether and work­ing to­wards the same goal.

“We all spend time to­gether away from the pitch and it is such a nice place to be on a dayto-day ba­sis.”

PIC­TURE: Pro Sports Images

CASE FOR THE DE­FENCE: Scott Wise­man, pic­tured left with fel­low de­fender Char­lie Goode, is adding steel to the Iron’s de­fence Inset: Pro­lific marks­man Josh Mor­ris

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