Murray’s in a hurry for clean sheet lift
IT’S fifth against fourth as Scunthorpe and Bradford square off this afternoon and Iron defender Murray Wallace believes the back-lines will decide which team keeps their League One automatic promotion hopes alive.
Wallace is well-versed in promotion pushes from his time with Falkirk – they narrowly missed out on reaching the Scottish Premier League when he was there in 2011-12 – and is convinced that tightening up at the back is key to Scunthorpe’s chances.
The Iron have not kept a clean sheet in their last eight games and trailed secondplace Bolton by eight points heading into the weekend, making victory at Glanford Park today a necessity.
The team know all about late charges, having won their final six games last season, and while they may need a similar streak to crack the top two this year, Wallace is still confident.
“The clean sheet is key,” explained the 24year-old. “Recently we’ve been conceding too many goals and we need to try and correct that.
“We’ve been scoring a lot of goals throughout the season, so if we can keep a clean sheet we’re confident we can score at least one.
“It won’t be easy – they’ve got a couple of new players and their striker, Charlie Wyke, is on form. We’ll need to shut him out to get anything from the game.
“It’s been nice to do a full week’s training instead of just constant recovery sessions – we’ve done a lot on shape this week and setpieces, too.”
Scunthorpe boss Graham Alexander will be back on the touchline having completed a onematch ban, but midfielders Kevin van Veen and Sam Mantom, and defender Conor Townsend, are all ruled out due to injury.
The Bantams should have 28year-old midfielder Nicky Law back in contention following a knee injury which has kept him out of the last four games, as they look to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches.
And manager Stuart McCall believes his troops are developing a potent set-piece just in time for the run-in.
“We look a goal threat from them now,” said McCall.
“Our two dead-ball specialists, Billy Clarke and Tony McMahon, are both very good.
“It helps when you’ve got two lads who are going to put the balls in there with such good quality.”
READY FOR BATTLE: Scunthorpe defender Murray Wallace, left, in action against Oxford United