Mur­ray’s in a hurry for clean sheet lift

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Richard Dore

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

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