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League Two

Scunthorpe United manager Russ Wilcox upbeat despite run of draws

1 February 2014

Scunthorpe United boss Russ Wilcox remained positive despite seeing his side record a third 0-0 draw in four outings against Hartlepool United.

The Iron are unbeaten in their last 13 games after their latest stalemate, yet they have lost ground on Sky Bet League Two leaders Chesterfield following a stuttering run of results.

An early Gary McSheffrey shot against the crossbar aside, they never overly-threatened the home side.

But Wilcox admitted: "It's a positive result for us. It's another 0-0, my glass is still half-full.

"It's four draws in a row, three of them 0-0, but we ended the game with three out-and-out strikers on the pitch, plus two more attackers, so that's five out there and we couldn't have done any more as a team to try and win the game.

"We have come to Hartlepool and it's been a decent game in difficult conditions. We take a point and move on.''

The Iron were reliant on keeper Sam Slocombe for keeping them in the game at times as Pools could not find a way past a well-drilled rearguard.

"I'd like to think second half we would have had more territorial advantage but it didn't quite work out like that,'' added Wilcox.

"We stayed solid as a group and it was always going to be scrappy, there wasn't a lot of quality in and around the box.

"We did all we could with substitutions to try and win it.

"We wanted the ball on the floor but it was scrappy at times. We changed players, made substitutions and changed the formation to try and win the game.

"It just wasn't there for us; conditions played a part.

"It's three nil-nils in four draws, so of course you are concerned, but in 13 games we have scored something like 25-26 goals and we are still second in the league. People like to jump on the negativity side of things and I understand that.''

Pools have also struggled for goals of late and this was their fourth blank in six outings.

Boss Colin Cooper said: "It's a decent point. All I said to the players is that after the week we had - a scruffy win here last week and a disappointing defeat at Wimbledon in a game we were comfortable in - the one thing that pleased me is that we defended our final third as we wanted to and still looked a threat on the counter.

"Their keeper has made good saves, our keeper hasn't had any to make.''

Pools went closest when Andy Monkhouse had a shot blocked, while Marlon Harewood almost won it later on with a raking drive from distance.

"We had to marry up the last two performances,'' added Cooper.

"We had to be stubborn like we were against York in winning and the good football we played in losing at Wimbledon. We nearly did it, not quite.

"Little bits we need to work on is what we have to do better. Pick the right pass at the right time, but it's a learning curve, which is what we are on with young players.

"And as long as they are wanting to do that, I can only be a happy manager.''

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