Tim Stoodley looks forward to the trip to Glanford Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
Peterborough United look to make winning their New Year’s resolution as they head to Glanford Park, the home of Scunthorpe United, in the first Sky Bet League One fixture of 2017, this Monday (3pm).
Grant McCann’s side ended the last year with two draws against lower-placed opposition, but now face the task of squaring-up to a side that have spent the majority of the 2016/17 campaign at the peak of the table. Indeed, only a last gasp defeat to Bolton Wanderers on New Year’s Eve saw them drop to their current position of third.
Scunthorpe United is team that few would have predicted would be flying as high as they are this campaign, although their recent form is actually nothing to write home about. In the last five league games they’ve won just once, while they’ve been held to two draws and suffered two defeats. The stumble in form actually started in the game after the reverse of this fixture, which was played out at the ABAX Stadium as recently as November 22nd. The Iron were 0-2 winners on the occasion and were by far the better outfit. Following that win though they seemed to lose their nerve and as aforementioned, have been on a stuttering run. Both sides actually enjoyed a decent amount of chances in the first match-up, but Scunthorpe were much more clinical in front of goal and punished Posh for two lapses in concentration, much to Grant McCann’s annoyance. Post-match he bemoaned how easy Scunthorpe had it in the final third and he’ll be hoping for an improvement in this fixture.
Scunthorpe lined up in a traditional 4-4-2 on that November evening and apart from a more defensive outlook in their last game against Bolton, has favoured the same formation. At home against Posh, I’d be expecting them to stick with what has been a proven line-up. Whilst you wouldn’t go as far as to describe their playing style as ‘tika taka’, you do have to admire their patient, solid build-up play, or at least that they showed in the first fixture. They also showed themselves to be street-wise and clever and Posh have to be intelligent if they’re to avoid another defeat.
Kevin van Veen notched a goal in the reverse of this tie and he has to be seen as one of the main goal-threats for the Iron. He’s helped himself to seven goals this season and is the clubs second-top scorer. In the opening tie between these two he looked a constant challenge to mark and will need close attention on Monday.
There’s no doubt where the ultimate goal-threat comes from though, and that’s in the midfield, in the shape of Josh Morris. He’s currently third in the division’s top scorer standings with a lethal 14 goals so far this campaign. The 25 year-old, former Blackburn Rovers man, did feature out wide in the November match-up, but didn’t really show the talent that has had him noticed so far this season. Posh can’t expect the same lapse this time around though as this guy is the genuine article, and will be more than happy to prove it.
A note of interest is that in the game at the ABAX last season, Scunthorpe ran out 0-2 winners on that occasion too, while Posh smashed the Iron 4-0 at Glanford Park – here’s to hoping history repeats itself this season! Scunthorpe has the better record against Peterborough. The sides have met on 57 occasions, with the Iron taking the points on 25 different meetings. Peterborough has won just 17. There have been plenty of goals shared between the two sides, with just three 0-0’s in those 57 matches.
Peterborough manager Grant McCann will have fond memories of returning to Glanford Park, where he is held in high-regard. The Northern-Irish coach made over 100 appearances for the Iron, netting 18 times. His opposite number, Graham Alexander, is approaching his 40th game in charge at Glanford Park, where he currently boasts a very impressive win ratio of 64%.
The match official for this game is Mr Andy Haines. He has officiated 22 games this campaign, dishing out four reds and an average of three cautions per game. Has hasn’t refereed either side this season, but did officiate both last campaign. He was in charge when Peterborough were beaten 2-0 by Rochdale on the opening day of last season. Kgosi Nthle was the only player to be cautioned for Posh in that one.
The 9,000 capacity stadium of Glanford Park is an entertaining away day for Peterborough fans. This match marks the start of five consecutive away matches for Posh, so time on the road will become the norm in January for the boys in blue. Posh fans will be located in the all-seated South Stand, behind one of the goals. It’s a stand with a lively atmosphere and is rated highly by away fans who visit the club. The stadium is pretty easy-to-find, being located on the edge of the town. The main downside being that the local train station is a hefty two miles away from the club. There is a pub located by the ground itself, ‘The Iron Bar’ which does admit visiting supporters, but if you don’t fancy mixing with the locals then the nearby Old Farmhouse is usually seen as away fans only.
The key figures:
League positions; Scunthorpe United - 3rd Peterborough United - 7th
Last five; Scunthorpe United - WLWDL Peterborough United - WWWDD
Previous meeting; 22/11/2016 (Sky Bet League One) - Peterborough United 0-2 Scunthorpe United
Average attendances (2015/16); Scunthorpe United - 3,907 Peterborough United - 5,447
Top Scorer (league); Scunthorpe United – Josh Morris (14) Peterborough United - Gwion Edwards (7)
Interesting fact: Scunthorpe United were one of four clubs to join the Football League for the 1950-51 season when the competition expanded to 92 clubs. The Iron still had to play in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup and went down to Southern League club Hereford United.
Tickets are available in on the day and there is no increase if purchased at the ground on Monday. Tickets are priced at £22 for adults, £15 for seniors (65 and over), 18-21 year olds and full time students with a valid NUS card, £6 for under 18s and under 12s admitted free of charge (max 2 per paying adult).