Brian Laws is 'very tempted' to elevate James Alabi into Scunthorpe United starting line-up against Stevenage
BRIAN Laws has vowed to learn from previous mistakes when it comes to picking the Scunthorpe United starting line-up to face Stevenage tonight (7.45 pm).
And that means the Iron manager is ‘very tempted’ to hand teenage striker James Alabi the first start of his senior career
Laws admitted, in hindsight, that he was wrong to play Akpo Sodje during the weekend’s defeat to Hartlepool United – a 2-1 loss which saw Scunthorpe miss the chance to put further daylight between themselves and the League One relegation zone.
And given the big striker is still suffering the effects of a kick on the ankle, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End front man may be forced to miss what will only be Boro’s second visit to Glanford Park.
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“We tried really hard with Akpo Sodje,” said Laws, reflecting on his side's loss to Pools.
“Credit to him. He wanted to give it a go for the team on Saturday – particularly given the fact he'd been scoring at home.
“But I thought it was actually too early for him. In hindsight, we shouldn't have started him and it showed – he was probably only 75 per cent of what he should have been.
“The risk was there, but unfortunately it didn't work out. We've got to look at that for this game against Stevenage.”
Sodje is not the only doubt for tonight’s game – the fifth time in six matches Scunthorpe have been in action at Glanford Park.
Winger Mark Duffy has hardly trained since being clattered by Hartlepool’s Simon Walton on Saturday and club captain Paul Reid, who missed that game through illness, did not attend the club at all yesterday.
A patched up side is a far from ideal scenario for United, who could slip back into the bottom four if results go against them tonight.
It will not deter Laws though from giving serious consideration to promoting rookie Alabi to the starting XI, 72 hours after the Stoke City loanee came off the bench to head a goal on his professional debut against Pools.
“Players always dream of scoring goals, particularly strikers and particularly their first league goal,” added Laws, who revealed that Alabi had been ‘buzzing’ on the back of his memorable introduction to league football.
“It's been great for him to have got it so soon.
“I think it shows Tony Pulis (the Stoke City manager) was right when he said he was ready for league action. He didn't look out of place.
“Any striker, when he comes in, wants to score goals because it helps him settle in and the other players respond to it.
“He looks like he's settled in really, really well and we're delighted with that – the quicker a player settles, the better the product you get out on the park.
“He took his goal on Saturday really well and he got it through great endeavour and a great finish.
“He will be seriously considered for a start.”