This will be just the second ever league visit of Scunthorpe Utd. The reverse fixture in Scunthorpe in October last year was Rovers best away win of the campaign so far. After going behind in the 9th minute, a Jamille Matt hat-trick and a Matty Stevens goal saw Rovers win 4-1.
Scunthorpe are in 19th place in the league, a fairly comfortable 10 points above the relegation places but also comfortably away from any chance of reaching the play-offs. Scunthorpe’s record against League 2’s play-off contenders had been poor until they went to Cambridge (the side with the best home record in the league) at the beginning of March and beat them 1-0. Scunthorpe don’t score that freely (averaging a goal a game), but when they do take the lead in a game, their record demonstrates they can usually hang on to it.
A week ago Scunthorpe lost rather tamely 2-0 away at Carlisle. But with most of their first-choice defenders on the injury list for this game, the defeat didn’t come as a surprise to Scunny fans. A midweek away fixture at Morecambe on April 13th saw them comfortably beaten 4-1.
Scunthorpe’s main threat this season has come from their 6ft 4in striker, Ryan Loft, who was signed last summer. Formerly on Spurs’ books, Loft has scored 9 times so far this season. Loft plays number 9 as a classic centre forward.
Backing up Loft as a goalscorer has been their wing attack Abo Eisa. The Scunthorpe number 11 has scored 8 times so far this season.
Scunthorpe are nicknamed ‘The Iron’ – a legacy of the town’s steel making tradition. This match with Scunthorpe United FC is the fourth ever league encounter between the two clubs. FGR have met the “Iron” once before in a 2014-15 first round FA Cup tie which Scunthorpe won 2-0. League match-ups between the sides saw Scunthorpe win both home and away games last season. Rovers won this seasons encounter at Glanford Park 4-1.
Scunthorpe came into the EFL in 1950 and have remained there ever since. They had a run in the second tier in the 1950’s and 60’s and another couple of very brief flirtations in the Championship as recently as 10 years ago. However, Scunthorpe have spent most of their time in the 4th tier. Relegated back to League 2 in 2019, they finished last season in 20th position. Scunthorpe’s away record is 6 wins, 2 draws and 10 losses.
Local rivals include Grimsby Town & Hull City (Humber Derby games) and Lincoln City & Grimsby (known as Lincolnshire Derbies). Scunthorpe fans are already bracing themselves to lose their derby matches against Grimsby, given the current league position of the Mariners.
Scunthorpe can boast some well-known former players. These include Kevin Keegan, former England and Liverpool goalie Ray Clemence, Ian Botham (who played 11 games for the Iron in 1980 before concentrating on his cricket), and Neil Warnock. Warnock has never managed Scunthorpe, in spite of the fact that he seems to have managed most other clubs (Scarborough, Notts County, Torquay, Huddersfield, Plymouth, Oldham, Bury, Sheffield Utd, Crystal Palace (twice), QPR (twice), Leeds, Rotherham & Cardiff). He currently manages Middlesborough.