|Rochdale 1 v 1 Scunthorpe United|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 12th August 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Interview with a Scunny fan
Thursday, 10th Aug 2017 10:00 by Col
Scunthorpe come to town on Saturday, so we've asked an expert on all things Scunny ahead of the game.
1) Who are ya and how long have you supported Scunny? My name is Matt Blanchard. I’m Editor of the Iron Bru website and have been a season ticket holder on/off since I was 7/8. Follow the Iron home and away.
2) After finishing 3rd last season, are expectations for a similar placed finish this time round? It would be nice to say yes but at the moment I believe we are a little way away from seriously challenging. We have to be realistic and at present we are probably two or maybe even three players away from having a really successful season. Much will depend on who we manage to bring in before the end of the window but we look a bit short in midfield and have not yet replaced the bite of Stephen Dawson.
Despite having some really good attacking players, like Madden, Morris, Adelekun, Holmes and Van Veen the system we have played in pre season and the opening game vs Wimbledon stifles them. Most teams in this league would love to have Paddy Madden in their squad- but if he’s up front on his own, with no support, he may as well not be on the pitch!
We started with 5 at the back against Notts County on Tuesday and were totally outplayed until we switched to 442 at the break. We came alive in the second half and with Holmes and Adelekun on the wings tore through them at will. It was a much improved performance and it is clear to all that the players are much more comfortable playing this way. Although conditions did not help, we could easily have scored four or five. The fans just want to be entertained. We have the flair players- it’s just how we utilise them. I think we will be in and around the play offs, but it’s all down to the manager.
3) What’s your thoughts on League One in general this season? It’s going to be a tough, competitive league. Quite a lot of sides have strengthened really well and it’s almost impossible to predict the top 6 and bottom 4.
4) You signed a couple of our old players in Gilks and McArdle over the Summer. How are they looking so far? Matt Gilks looks good and is an ideal replacement for Luke Daniels who left in the summer. He has already made some decent saves and can hopefully aid the development of Rory Watson, who is our number two. He’s a highly rated ex Hull youngster and did well for North Ferriby in the conference last year. The jury is still out for me over McArdle. Bradford fans seemed to rave over him when we signed him and he’s probably a solid enough League One defender. Time will tell, but he’s had a shaky start.
5) Who are the stars of your side that we need to keep an eye out for? The pundits reckon Josh Morris will shine again but I am not convinced. He doesn’t look like the same player this time around and the 352 formation (or the diamond we persisted with towards the end of last season) does nothing to help him. The harder he tries, the worse he looks! It’s a shame as last year he was fantastic. He limped off on Tuesday and is out of Saturday’s game which is probably a blessing in disguise.
Hakeeb Adelekun has all the talent in the world and Graham Alexander seems to be putting his trust in him this time around. He is unplayable on his day, but in previous years has gone missing and can be a really frustrating player. He’s still a young lad and he seems to have a better attitude this time around – if he fulfils his potential and puts it all together he would be a class above anything in this league. Duane Holmes changed the game on Tuesday. He’s only small but he is really quick and is a nightmare for defenders. He has a really low centre of gravity and can nip past players as if they are not there. He simply has to start on Saturday!
We’ve also just signed Funso Ojo, a midfielder who has played top flight in Holland. He is calm on the ball and has a good range of passing – I’m looking forward to seeing more of him but the early signs are very good. He looks to be a real find.
6) Happy with Graham Alexander as manager? I was very happy with him, but he seems to be morphing into Mark Robins and we all know how that ended. When he first arrived, the fans thought he had the potential to be up there with our greatest ever managers. We were absolutely battering teams towards the end of the season before last and the early part of last year with attacking, free flowing football.
Tuesday may have been a bit of a wake up call as previous to the shocking first half against Notts County he seemed set on five at the back. To continue with this formation would be a really risky move as we’ve tried it before and failed miserably. Saturday’s game with Wimbledon was a complete snooze fest and in fairness we were lucky to get a point. Things have to change and perhaps after Tuesday he has seen the light although I would not be at all surprised to see him revert to three centre halves on Saturday though which could be costly!
7) Rochdale v Scunthorpe seems to have always been on the fixture list. What are you favourite and least favourite memories from these fixtures over the years? I always remember a couple of fiery encounters at Spotland when we had Brian Laws in charge in the early noughties… Those were the days.
8) Give us your all time Scunthorpe XI It’s too hard to call but Steve Torpey would most definitely be in there…
9) What’s your favourite Scunthorpe home shirt? 2010/11 was the only one in recent years I have ‘liked’. I wasn’t around to see us play in it but the Umbro shirts from the early 80s are a thing of beauty.
10) Any predictions for the game? If we play 442, I can see us winning it but if not I can’t see anything other than a Rochdale win and crying into my beer on the train home! Let’s hope Graham has learned from his mistakes. 2-1 Scunthorpe!
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