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League Two

Russ Wilcox lauds Scunthorpe United squad

31 March 2014

Scunthorpe United manager Russ Wilcox was quick to praise his players after he equalled a Football League record for the longest unbeaten run in the league for a new manager at a club, following their 0-0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers.

The Iron have not lost for 24 games since he took charge at the end of last November when they were 12th in the table.

Since then they have strung together 12 wins and 12 draws to take them to the brink of promotion. In doing so, Wilcox has equalled John Benson's 24-match undefeated league match run having been appointed Wigan Athletic manager back in the 1999/2000 season.

"I have an amazing group of players here. They are the best group I have worked with - and I have been around a bit myself with 15 different clubs in all," said Wilcox.

"The fans should be proud of what these players have done and hopefully we will go on and achieve what has been our aim all season and win promotion."

Scunthorpe were not at their best, frustrated for long spells by a Wycombe side scrapping for their lives at the foot of the table.

It was winger Gary Sheffrey who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half with a cross that came back into play off the bar. But when he limped off in the 73rd minute with a hamstring injury, it left Scunthorpe down to 10 men, having used all their substitutes.

"It was then that these players showed what they are made of," said Wilcox.

"They rolled up their sleeves and put in a great shift. They were determined they were not going to get beaten.

"It was not one of our best performances but I am not going to talk about that. It was a scrappy game and Wycombe made life really difficult for us.

"They came here and parked the bus and made it very difficult for us to penetrate through them. But I am not going to criticise them for that."

Wilcox revealed that McSheffrey could miss the rest of the season with his hamstring injury, while central-midfield man Sean McAllister was taken to hospital with a rib injury.

"It just shows how quickly things can change in football," groaned Wilcox.

"But other results have gone for us. We are still seven points in front of the fourth-placed team (Fleetwood). Nothing has changed in that, but there are now only six games left to play, so we are still in a really strong position."

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was delighted to come away with a point.

"Not many teams come to Scunthorpe and do that, so it is a really big point for us," he said.

"Other results have gone for us too, so our destiny is still very much in our own hands.

"We changed our game-plan for this game.

"We knew if we came and tried to play Scunthorpe at their game, they would beat us. Better teams than us have come here and lost doing that.

"We came to try and stifle Scunthorpe. We worked hard on the new system in midweek and it has worked.

"As the minutes ticked by the players could see it was working and became more and more confident with it. They made sure it worked. I think in the end it was us who had better chances to win it."

Ainsworth also saluted his make-shift centre back pairing of Aaron Pierre and Danny Rowe.

He added: "This was only Aaron's second game for us there and it was Danny's first. We only brought him in on loan from Rotherham this week. I hadn't seem him play but he was recommended to me by their boss Steve Evans, who is a friend of mine.

"I thought Aaron and Danny were both tremendous for us."

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