Scunthorpe United boss Paul Hurst looks ahead to EFL Trophy clash against Blackpool
Paul Hurst is hoping the previous League One experience of several of his Scunthorpe United players will prove a leveller in tonight's EFL Trophy clash against Blackpool.
The Iron dropped down to the fourth tier last season after a disappointing campaign in League One, finishing second from bottom.
A large number of that squad remain with the club in League Two, where they have struggled to date despite a mini revival.
Tonight they provide the opposition for Blackpool in the EFL Trophy, where a spot in the third round of the competition is at stake.
Scunthorpe boss Paul Hurst is expecting a tough encounter against the Seasiders but is hoping his players' experience will prove vital.
Hurst said: “Blackpool are a club that have certainly had difficulties in recent times but things have changed over there now and there’s a lot more optimism.
"I think the fans feel like they’ve got the club back and Simon Grayson has gone in there, who is used to winning promotions with clubs, and will be looking to do that with Blackpool.
"That’s their aim and they already have a very good squad together there. They’ll probably invest in January as well but in the meantime whatever side Simon decides to put out, whether it’s the subs or the team they played at Ipswich at the weekend, it’ll be a tough task.
“That said, a lot of our players – if not all of them – have played in League One at some point, whether that’s last year or for many years before. I’m sure a lot of those still believe they can play at that level, so it’s an opportunity as a group and individually to show they can compete with what is a good team currently in that division.”
Scunthorpe come into the game on the back of a three-game winning run, two of which have come in the league to help relieve some pressure on the Iron - who sit 16th.
Despite their struggles in League Two, the EFL Trophy is still a competition the North Lincolnshire outfit want to do well in.
There is also a chance the Iron will name a strong side for tonight's game as they have no fixture to prepare for at the weekend, having already been knocked out of the FA Cup.
Hurst added: “The motivation has to be to try and get through, try to win and keep the performance levels going. If we put in a similar performance to what we’ve done recently then we give ourselves a chance. There are never any guarantees but we’ll go there to be competitive.
“From Saturday (2-1 win against Port Vale), the lads have come through unscathed. The only one that will be missing is Jamie Proctor, due to being cup tied, but we also have others lads that are perhaps ready for the game and chomping at the bit.
"I’ll make a decision on the team and all I can say is whichever one we decide to go with will be with the intention of trying to get through.
“It’s a bit of a juggling act looking at the group as a whole and we’ve put a plan in place to try and ensure everyone’s getting what they need.
“I told the players on Tuesday morning that the importance of the squad will come out over that festive period. We’ve got four games in next to no time and that’s a big ask to put the same team out on each occasion. We’re looking ahead to make sure everyone’s ready.
"We’ll then attack the games in the league but hopefully have another one to look forward to in the EFL Trophy in January as well.”