The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FOURTH ROUND - By Jimmy Booker

GRA­HAM ALEXAN­DER says his Scun­thorpe United play­ers are in pos­i­tive mood as they look to con­tinue their im­pres­sive run of form.

Scun­thorpe are bat­tling it out with Sh­effield United at the top of the divi­sion, and the man­ager be­lieves his play­ers are well set to main­tain their push for pro­mo­tion.

“The play­ers are in a good place. They’re fo­cused on what’s im­por­tant,” ex­plained Alexan­der.

The for­mer Scot­land in­ter­na­tional said the team was frus­trated that last week’s clash with Charl­ton Ath­letic was called off and are now champ­ing at the bit to get back on the pitch.

“Play­ers love play­ing games. That’s why you work hard, that’s why you look af­ter your­self phys­i­cally, to have that light at the end of the tun­nel of play­ing a game,” Alexan­der said.

“When that’s kept away from you, whether it’s you not be­ing in the team or the game is can­celled, the next time you get that op­por­tu­nity there’s al­ways that ex­tra zip in your play.

“I feel that from the play­ers. We’ve felt that in train­ing, but we al­ways talk about the per­for­mance in games fol­low­ing on from train­ing.”

The Iron have sev­eral play­ers work­ing their way back from in­jury, but Alexan­der said 23-year-old de­fender Conor Townsend, mid­fielder Jamie Ness, 25, and 31-year-old de­fender David Mirfin will not be rushed back into ac­tion.

The trio all made ap­pear­ances in a game be­hind closed doors be­tween Scun­thorpe Un­der-23s and Leeds Un­der-23s on Tues­day.

“We looked af­ter the boys who re­turned from in­jury, gave them the min­utes we’d planned and ev­ery­one got through the game fine,” Alexan­der added.

“They’ve still not played a full game, but they are closer. We’ll have to look at how they are, but with­out play­ing a full game it could be a gam­ble.”

UP­BEAT: Gra­ham Alexan­der

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