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League Two

Russ Wilcox in dreamland

21 April 2014

Five months almost to the day since he first took charge in his first managerial appointment, Scunthorpe boss Russ Wilcox is now just a point away from clinching promotion after their 1-0 home victory against Oxford United.

Midfield man Matt Sparrow hit the only goal of the game in the 14th minute to stretch his side's unbeaten run to a magnificent 28 games since Wilcox first took charge.

But wins for promotion rivals Rochdale, Chesterfield and Fleetwood still leave Scunthorpe needing one more point from their last two games to book a quick return to League One from where they were relegated last May.

"It's disappointing that one of the other results didn't go for us and that we couldn't clinch promotion in front of our own fans," said Wilcox.

"We are almost there - but not quite, and it's important that we don't lose our focus. We have got to stay grounded.

"I thought this was one of the best home performances we have produced all season. Under the pressure we were playing under, I felt the lads were outstanding.

"We were brave enough to get the ball down and pass it and we created a number of really good chances.

"Their goalkeeper did well but he got lucky with the shot from David Syers that hit his body and then bounced down and over the bar.

"Nine times out of 10 those finish in the back of the net - but then we don't make life easy for ourselves here at Scunthorpe do we?" he quipped.

"We were well in control. Things only got a bit hairy in the last five minutes, but then that's understandable after the number of late goals we have conceded this season.

"Now we have just got to get ourselves prepared properly and go again at Exeter on Saturday."

Defeat for Oxford leaves their play-off hopes hanging by a thread as new manager Gary Waddock looks for an improvement from his team.

"Mathematically we can still do it, but this is a transition phase for me and the players," he said.

"While there is a chance of making the play-offs, we will keep going for it, but in the last 15 games this club has lost too many times - and that is something that has got to be addressed.

"These players are playing for their futures," he warned. "They are judged every time they go out there.

"That was my team talk at half time after a first half performance that was not good enough.

"Scunthorpe are going well and this is always a difficult place to come to, but when you do create a couple of good chances, like we did, then it is very frustrating when your team cannot hit the target."

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