By Tony Leighton
World records are rarely, if ever, set in Scunthorpe, but there's one reportedly in prospect on Saturday. If Scunthorpe United avoid defeat at home to Bury then Iron boss Russ Wilcox will establish the longest ever unbeaten run recorded by a first-time football manager from his debut outing, albeit an unverified record.
Last week's 1-0 Sky Bet League 2 win at Torquay United took Wilcox's undefeated start to 25 matches, equalling the current best held by the former Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas when he set out on the management trail at Portuguese club Porto.
Breaking Villas-Boas' total would be a fantastic achievement for Wilcox, who took charge at Glanford Park last November after working as an assistant manager in spells at Scunthorpe, Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley and Bournemouth.
Not that the 50-year-old former central defender, under whose direction the Iron have put themselves within clear sight of automatic promotion, will claim all the credit if his team come through unscathed on Saturday.
Wilcox told football-league.co.uk: "It's all about the group. I'm a big part of the group and I've made key decisions in games, some of them brave decisions, but the players have taken those decisions on board and won or drawn matches.
"I want to be a progressive manager who looks to attack teams and go for wins. As an ex-central defender I've surprised myself a bit in that respect, but when I took over I looked at the group and felt we could compete and score goals.
"The players bought into that and it's been a brilliant run we've put together. It was great to hit double figures unbeaten, then we went past Nigel Adkins' [Scunthorpe's former boss] run of 19 games when he was here, and now we've got to 25.
"The next aim is to go unbeaten to the end of the season, because if we do that it will guarantee automatic promotion and that's what we want."
Scunthorpe currently lay second in the table, level on points with leaders Rochdale. More importantly, they are seven points above the team immediately below the automatic promotion places, Fleetwood Town.
"We're in a fantastic position," added Wilcox. "Five games to go and seven points above fourth place in a tight division - anybody in the league would take that.
"We're not over the line yet, of course, and the games we've got left are going to be tough. But we'll approach them in the same way we've approached the last 25.
"We always set the team up to go for a win, to gamble if necessary to turn the one point we've got at the start of a game into three at the end of it. That approach has served us well so far - and I don't intend changing it now."
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