Scunthorpe previewed part one: The game that means nothing but really means everything


Image by Thomas Gadd (

Image by Thomas Gadd (

Scunthorpe United vs Bradford City preview

@Glanford Park on Tuesday 21 April, 2015

By Jake Verity

Despite the fact play offs are a mathematical impossibility – as is relegation may I add – there’s work still to be done and our squad are fully aware of that.

As we’ve all been made aware, with the club in talks with Gianni Paladini about the small little matter of buying Bradford City, we could be set to see a new era begin. Players confident of expecting a new deal may not live up to the required standard for next year.

Paladini has quite the reputation for being a tyrant and fairly ruthless in his decision making. If and I say if he was to take over at the helm of our club, the money we’d have available to us should hopefully enable us to bring in some wonderful talent. Some players contracts are up this summer and, if our squad are to ascertain themselves as part of next season’s Bradford City, it’s well within their best interests they make an impression on Signor Paladini and quickly.

That all being theoretical of course; there’s still more at stake than just the small matter of the players’ potential future. There’s a high league finish to cement. The foundations have been laid but, for some reason, our close to the season has just seen a lack of character. It feels worse given the success we’ve enjoyed previous to mid March but ever since that 3-0 loss away at the Madejski, that cement simply won’t set and it’s about time we make sure it does.

Phil Parkinson has quoted mini target of finishing above last season’s commendable 11th-place finish. A target that is possible yet, given recent form, looks to be a push. The cold hard facts are since the replay against Reading we’ve had just two wins, two draws and four losses.

We’ve conceded 11 in our last four. We’ve got five league wins, eight losses and five draws in 2015, that’s clearly not ideal. What we can infer is though, if the players are chasing a contract for next season, they will certainly put in the best effort possible and rightly so.

The list of out on contract players:

  • Andrew Davies
  • Gary Liddle
  • Mark Yeates
  • Christopher Routis
  • Andy Halliday
  • Jason Kennedy
  • Matt Urwin

Liddle is likely to be offered another contract, given his consistency throughout the campaign this season. Talks are already ongoing with Jon Stead, which leaves nine players with their future very much in doubt.

Loanee’s such as Zoko have failed to capture the imagination of the fans and, if they are to make an impression, there is no time more pivotal than these last three fixtures to show sign of improvement, stake a claim for your place in the side next season.

Kennedy has enjoyed a relatively successful spell away at Carlisle. Will he stay around or move away elsewhere for next season?

Then we come to the issue of Yeates and Davies. Both fantastic players when on form and present real Championship quality when at the top of their game. Davies, however, has been blighted by injury, leading to the questioning as to whether he is financially a viable option for the club. Yet if potential investment is to take place, the answer in my mind is unquestionable.

Yeates has been frustrated at certain points with injury as well. Since the Fleetwood game on Boxing Day, the Irishman has never really recaptured his scintillating form prior to Christmas. Despite his goals against Chelsea and Coventry, Yeates has the opportunity in these final few games to prove to everybody just why he belongs in claret and amber next season.

The final two players who have a fantastic opportunity to confirm their spot here for next season are Halliday and Routis. If both are to feature against Scunthorpe, they should relish the opportunity in these final few encounters and proved just why they should be a part of hopefully a revitalised rejuvenated Bradford City next term.

Halliday has had an indifferent experience at Bradford, scoring one of the most important goals in the club’s history against Chelsea, yet also struggling in certain matches. The dynamic midfielder however has largely impressed, whether it is to merit another deal for next season is still up for debate. Scunthorpe may well be a definer.

There is no man who’s future is uncertain than Chris Routis as well. The Frenchman is strong and powerful in his gameplay, versatile across a plethora of positions yet limited to his opportunities in the starting eleven. You can’t help but feel this season was a taste of what English football was all about for him, and his evident development is one that has proven successful to date. If he is to finish the season late in strong form, he could well be looking at a new deal.

Team selection as far is it goes will see Rory McArdle begin his two match ban on the sideline. A frustrating loss, yet a chance for Gary MacKenzie to step back in and prove his worth across the next two fixtures. MacKenzie is another one of the group of players looking to prove himself in order to potentially gain a contract for next season.

I’d expect a similar side to feature against Scunthorpe that did against Sheffield at the weekend with a few minor adjustments.

Jon Stead may start this one with the recall of Gary Liddle to the side another possibility. Filipe Morais may come in to add pace and strength to the wings, whereas Mark Yeates may find himself out of contention with his shoulder looking doubtful.

Dylan Mottley-Henry may potentially be in line for another appearance. The young winger impressed in the latter stages of the Preston game and he certainly could be a one to watch.

Relegation is still a possibility for the Iron so they will provide a stern test for our side. It’s likely, however, to be an interesting encounter regardless of who is to feature. A team desperate for survival is always a tough challenge, and may provide difficulty for us to break down.

Sheffield United in theory meant little to us. We knew the play offs and relegation were highly unlikely. We played for pride and bragging rights. Against Scunthorpe, we not only want to leave with points but a firmer idea in our heads as to who we need to consider keeping at this football club, and who to send on their way.

It truly is the game that means nothing but, really, means everything.

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