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Why have Scunthorpe United become a joy to watch this season?

Saturday 21st January 2017
With the most amount of goals, the fewest defeats and the second highest points in League One, Graham Alexander has made Scunthorpe United one of the most impressive outfits in the Football League.
After the surprise appointment of Alexander in March 2016, the Irons almost secured an unlikely play-off finish last campaign, after picking up 28 points in the former Scotland international's first 10 games of his managerial reign at Glanford Park, including a 6-0 demolition of Swindon Town and a 1-0 victory over champions Burton Albion.

It was not quite enough though, as the North Lincolnshire club ended up finishing seventh with Barnsley securing the final play-off spot and consequently getting promoted to the Championship.

Alexander - who previously guided Fleetwood Town to success in the League Two play-offs at the end of the 2013/14 season – was determined to continue where the last season had finished. He brought in Josh Morris - a former Blackburn winger who failed to make an impact at fellow League One club, Bradford – on a free transfer, while securing permanent moves for Sam Mantom on a free transfer from Walsall and Duane Holmes on a free from Huddersfield Town.

Those signings were twinned with the loan arrivals of promising left-back, Harry Toffolo, from Norwich City and midfielder, Richie Smallwood, from Rotherham United to secure an impressive summer transfer window with a smaller budget compared to other League One sides.

The start that Alexander was looking for was granted, with the Irons securing 23 points from their first 10 matches, with results such as 5-0 thrashing against Gillingham and a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Southend United.

Despite only managing to achieve one win in the whole of December, come January, Scunthorpe were still in the automatic spots in the League One table.

The form of summer arrival, Morris, has been the most rewarding for Alexander. The left-winger with a powerful left-foot has – to date - netted 18 times this campaign, which is a massive improvement on just one strike in 16 matches for previous club Bradford. It probably did not come as a surprise to Alexander though, who worked with the former England U20 international at Fleetwood where Morris was a loanee.

However, it has not just been Morris who has been drawing the plaudits. Dutch forward Kevin Van Veen has found the net on eight occasions, leading the line magnificently for Scunthorpe. In addition, centre midfielder and captain, Stephen Dawson, has been in tremendous form.

But, perhaps the most impressive stat of them all is the fact that Scunthorpe are unbeaten at home this campaign, only dropping points to Charlton, Northampton and Oxford plus top of the table, Sheffield United.

Now sitting in second, one point behind the Blades, Scunthorpe have already added to their squad in the shape of former Bolton and Barnsley striker, Craig Davies, on a free transfer from Wigan to add more attacking impetus to their squad.

With that in mind and a Championship return in the pipeline, it's worth keeping an eye on this impressive Scunthorpe side that have been a joy to watch so far this season.
Greg Stubley
Greg graduated with a first in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton in Summer 2016 and has already managed to gain experience in the industry, working for companies such as Charlton Athletic and talkSPORT. Greg is currently the regular commentator on Charlton's "CAFCPlayerHD" service, bringing full-match live commentary along with Terry Smith of Addicks' games up and down the country for subscribers to listen.

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