It’s pretty much the ultimate ‘mean nothing game’ for both sides really – with our hosts safe from relegation, and us guaranteed a third or fourth place finish. After a seven goal thriller with Doncaster in their last game, Scunny demonstrated they both know where the goal is, but perhaps aren’t so hot on preventing their opponents finding it either – losing 4-3 in the end.
After their late mid-late March flurry of wins, the Iron have been on a less impressive one – only registering one win in the last six games, whilst succumbing to four defeats. Nigel Adkins has spoken about his disappointment at their defending, so hopefully whatever team Billy opts for will be able to find themselves some opportunities to finish the season on a high.
Scunthorpe are likely to be without David Mirfin who limped from the action against Doncaster last weekend, and the man to watch will be Gary Hooper – the in-form striker bagged two goals in his last game and has made the step up to this level admirably. That said, Atkins may choose to take the opportunity to mix things up a little too – so predicting line-ups could be tough!
Some fans have suggested that Billy might make fairly wholesale changes – indeed, even to the extent of perhaps resting player-of-the-season Lee Camp and giving Paul Smith a rare run out. Certainly any potential injury niggles are unlikely to be risked, so given Tyson limping from the pitch against Plymouth he might be rested – I would expect to see Earnie and Dex on the bench and Dele and McGoldrick starting.
I’m not sure how ticket sales have been but there is bound to be a decent following of Forest fans who make the relatively short trip to Glanford Park, and it should be a nice stress-free diversion before the nitty-gritty of the play-offs begins in earnest. That will be anything but stress-free, let’s face it!
A draw should enough for us to secure third, so I expect a fairly unadventurous line-up by Billy to try to get that, although if that happened then Cardiff go on a sheep-tourism holiday to Derby, and a win by more than four goals could see them leapfrog us on goal difference if we draw. Let’s face it, on their day Derby are capable of such a capitulation!
Elsewhere at the same time, Swansea host Doncaster needing a win to get back ahead of Blackpool, who are also at home – playing Bristol City. I can’t see them not getting something out of the game. The positive for the Reds is that – assuming we can keep third place – both possible semi-final opponents will be using full-strength teams to go for a result…
However, we shouldn’t really worry about anything other than our own game – Scunny are an interesting team, in some ways their league placing belies their ability, but is perhaps justified in other ways. A dangerous side going forward who have a bit of trouble at the back – this could be a really good opportunity for us to snaffle a very elusive away win!
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