IF SHEFFIELD United can triumph at graveyard Glanford Park tomorrow, then their supporters really will start to believe.
Despite watching Danny Wilson’s team make an unbeaten start to the new League One campaign, it is ingrained in the DNA of an entire generation to view trips to Scunthorpe with nothing but fear and trepidation.
After all, the South Yorkshire club’s following have never toasted a positive result at this austere little stadium.
“From my point of view what’s happened before is of absolutely no consequence,” Wilson insisted last night. “If everyone keeps talking about it being a problem then it’s certain to become one.
“It’s a tough place to go and play football.
“It’s a tight and compact ground but as for what’s happened in the past, well, I’m really not concerned about it.
“What I am bothered about is the here and now.”
For the sake of his own sanity, Wilson is right to swat the history books aside.
United have lost all of their previous three visits to Scunthorpe, including a disastrous 3-2 reverse in February which, as they had initially raced into a seemingly unassailable lead, went a long way towards condemning them to relegation.
“I don’t know why certain clubs seems to have bogey teams,” Wilson, who was appointed three months after that fateful evening in north Lincolnshire, said.
“It’s not something I really believe in, to be honest.
“Is it something that people create themselves?
“Perhaps but what’s the point of worrying about things you can’t change?
“This is a new season and with some new players so I really don’t see why it should be an issue.”
Nevertheless, Wilson has warned United to expect a hostile reception.
“Scunthorpe are a club that I don’t think you can help but admire,” he said.
“They make it difficult for you to play when you go to their place but, at the same time, they are capable of producing some really good stuff themselves and I don’t think their position (19th) at the moment reflects how they have done. One of the things Scunthorpe always seem to do is buy and sell very well too.”
Wilson had hoped to follow his opposite number Alan Knill into the transfer market this week only for the Football League to block United’s move for Glasgow Rangers duo John Fleck and Kyle Hutton.
By their own admission, officials at Bramall Lane failed to process a loan deal for the pair before the recent deadline for new signings but launched an appeal on the basis that technological failings, rather than any error on their part, was to blame for the delay.
“I was very disappointed with the decision,” Wilson said.
“They were two boys who we thought would fit in really well here and do well but at least it hasn’t affected the squad in the sense that they didn’t turn up here, work with us and then have to go back up there”
IRON (possible): Johnstone, Nolan, Nelson, Reid, Wright, Togwell, Ryan, Mozika, Dagnall, Thompson, Barcham (4-4-2).
United (possible): Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Jean-Francois, Mendez-Laing, Doyle, McAllister, Quinn, Cresswell, Porter (4-4-2).
Pat Miller: The Bedfordshire official’s last match in charge of a fixture involving Sheffield United came at Ashton Gate in November when, much to the annoyance of then manager Gary Speed, he awarded two penalties to Bristol City and sent off Richard Cresswell as the visitors suffered a 3-0 defeat. Miller, who will be making his first ever visit to Glanford Park, has issued 15 cautions so far this term and sent off his first player of the season - Southend’s Liam Dickinson - last Saturday.
Tale of the Tape
Sheffield United have had precious little success against their North Lincolnshire rivals in recent years.
Indeed, with Scunthorpe doing the ‘double’ over them for the past two seasons, the visitors have never actually won a competitive fixture at Glanford Park. United raced into a 2-0 lead there last term before going on to lose 3-2 and thus sow the seeds of relegation from the Championship to League One.