League One Manager Preview: Graham Alexander and Scunthorpe

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Graham Alexander and Scunthorpe ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League One season.

Background

Scunthorpe came up one step short of Wembley last season, having convinced themselves they had momentum for the play-offs on the back of five straight wins. However, that late surge against mostly weak opposition couldn’t mask an alarming drop in standards after Christmas. The Iron were top with 48 points after 23 games but picked up 14 points fewer when playing the same opposition second time around. It was a squad that Graham Alexander mostly inherited. Now he starts again with nearly all his own players.

Personality

Loyalty was a distinguishing feature of Alexander’s 22-year playing career, representing four clubs and leaving all of them on good terms. He is ultra-focused and never gets ahead of himself, wondering what other possibilities lie elsewhere. He lives in the moment and applies himself wholeheartedly to the immediate task at hand. Concentration is his core strength and game management is his forte. His teams play with the same common sense that enabled him to operate as a holding midfielder in the Premier League at the age of 38.

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Verdict

The Iron have apparently downsized over the summer, without explicitly admitting the fact. They’ve shed most of their big earners - in some cases gladly, in others not - but so far the replacements aren’t up to the same standard. There would have to be a flurry of exciting late deals in August to expect another play-off push. That’s not to say the club wasn’t ready for change. For the first three months of 2017, they were bottom-half material and the dynamic was evidently going stale.

Prediction: mid-table

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