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League Two

Russ Wilcox lauds Scunthorpe United firepower

22 February 2014

Scunthorpe United manager Russ Wilcox saluted a five-star attacking performance from his in-form side as they clocked up their biggest win of the season with a 5-1 demolition of Portsmouth.

It stretched their unbeaten run to 16 games under Wilcox and lifted them level on points with Sky Bet League 2 leaders Chesterfield.

David Syers plundered a hat-trick, while leading marksman Sam Winnall struck with his 17th goal of the season and fellow striker Paddy Madden scored his first for the club since his January move from Yeovil.

"This was probably the most complete attacking performance since I took charge last November, and we scored some great goals," said Wilcox.

"But we have got to keep grounded; we have not achieved anything yet.

"But if we do continue to produce performances like this, then I am sure we are going to be there or there about at the end of the season.

"You have got to give great credit to the players. They have shown a great togetherness and desire to go 16 matches without defeat. They want to take this club back to League 1."

Scunthorpe are now just three games away from equalling their club-record unbeaten run of 19 games, achieved seven seasons ago when they were crowned League 1 champions.

"Obviously it would be nice to beat that record because it would mean we are continuing to move in the right direction," said Wilcox.

"But the record does not bother me. Finishing in the top three at the end of the season is the thing I want most."

Wilcox was delighted for Syers, who ended an eight-game drought without a goal by banging in a hat-trick.

"His first was with the help of a deflection but I would be very disappointed if anyone tries to take that hat-trick away from him," said the Scunthorpe manager.

"I was also pleased for Paddy Madden to get on the scoresheet with his first goal for us. He has a great work ethic and will to win and he set the tone for us. He was the catalyst for us that pushed us to a 5-1 victory."

Substitute Michael Drennan headed an 84th-minute consolation goal for Portsmouth, who had lost only one of their previous five away games.

But it did little to lessen the disappointment of manager Richie Barker, who blasted the effort from his players.

"I made a couple of changes at half-time, but to be honest I could have taken more off than just the two," he fumed.

"We went through all our preparation work in midweek to prepare them for Scunthorpe and yet we get a performance like this.

"We were outfought and outplayed by a Scunthorpe team who were mentally much stronger than us.

"They were more ruthless than us. They won every tackle and every second ball - and they were still chasing lost causes when they were 5-0 ahead.

"We have some players here who seem to think they are too good for that.

"To go 16 matches without defeat, like Scunthorpe have, you obviously have to be mentally strong and have the right desire.

"They are in a good place at this time. They have better players than us - but that is no excuse for the way we performed.

"We obviously have not got enough of the right people at this club with the desire that is needed.

"We are just papering over the cracks at the moment, waiting for the season to come to an end."

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