Scunthorpe Take Leaf From U`s Book
Billy Sharp scored his 30th goal of the season as Scunthorpe secured promotion to the Championship last weekend, a year after Colchester United`s similar accent from League One proved the division to be springboard of opportunity.
As recently noted in the media, The Irons rise in 200/7 echoes Colchester`s of the previous campaign. Thus, teams like Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield remain strangely dormant, while smaller sides leapfrog over the shoulders of established giants in the third tire of English football.
What that amounts to, in a sporting world of David and Goliath tussles, is the underdog spending some time in the limelight.
Following promotion to League One in 2005, Scunthorpe have been the division`s form side, now under the stewardship of former Bongor City boss, Nigel Adkins.
He told Colchester United`s matchday supplement, back in February, that there are obvious parallels between Scunthorpe`s success and that of the Essex side.
"There are a lot of similarities between ourselves and Colchester," said the man who assumed the manager`s job following the departure of Brian Laws, to Sheffield Wednesday, last autumn.
"Their crowd base is not dissimilar, the grounds are of comparable size and I think the way Colchester have gone on to prosper in the Championship this season means we should have nothing to fear."
He was adamant that, as is the case with the U`s, teamwork over individualism has been a large factor in the achievements of the Lincolnshire outfit. That`s despite the number of goals scored by the highly-rated Sharp.
"We have a great team ethic here. Yes, we`ve got some very good players in key positions, but we`re a team, a cohesive unit and have a set of players prepared to work hard for each other.
"Of course, it was one of the key factors, keeping Billy. We would miss him if he left, but there is more to Scunthorpe than that."
The Glanford Park side have also managed to keep hold of a number players, akin to Colchester. The loss of former U`s defender Greg Halford this season, though, is somewhat reflective of Andy Keogh`s departure to Wolves in the January transfer window.
Adkins resumes the comparison: "Everyone is dreaming of the Championship. We look at Colchester and see that is attainable and everyone is eager to size that opportunity.
"We have been a football club in the lower leagues for many years and faced up to Conference football at one point," he adds.
Adkins is renowned for his optimist approach, "We got to be positive, and why shouldn`t we be? We are top of the league and that gives our fans something to sing loud about."