Sam Slocombe needs a rest says Scunthorpe United boss
Sam Slocombe has been assured he has a future at Scunthorpe United, despite the arrival of Millwall goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.
Mildenhall joined the Iron on loan for a month yesterday and will go straight into the starting line-up at Walsall tonight as Scunthorpe return to League One action on the back of Saturday's 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Gillingham.
Manager Brian Laws says the 34-year-old has arrived at Glanford Park with the potential to stay longer than the initial four-week deal.
But he insists Slocombe remains very much in his plans.
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"Having watched a lot of DVDs and listened to a lot of people talking about where we feel they've been struggling in defence, we felt Sam needed a rest so he can reassess his performances," said the Iron manager.
"I've always thought having an experienced goalkeeper in can help you immensely and we've had good success with that in the past.
"I'm a great believer that you have to get the spine of the team right, especially when things are going wrong. You can lean on those players and a goalkeeper is a good starting point.
"The potential is there to extend it (Mildenhall's loan).
"Already I've seen a change in the team, the defenders in particular. He's given them a lift.
"That's not being derogatory to Sam at all, maybe they just need to hear a different voice, something they haven't heard before.
"Nobody is pointing the finger at Sam I think it's important that that is realised.
"We've got a good goalkeeper here, but we don't want to ruin him.
"Sam has had a difficult period where he has been conceding a lot of goals.
"Psychologically he's had a battering, so he needs some support.
"He's a young keeper and we believe he's going to be a very good goalkeeper. But at these times he needs to come out and rest so he can reassess his performances.
"That allows us to bring in a goalkeeper with the experience we're trying to get Sam to have."
Mildenhall - who was told he could leave Millwall, where he is the third choice goalkeeper, during the summer - has not started a match since February, when he represented the Lions in an FA Cup loss to Bolton.
He has though played more than 300 league games for the likes of Southend United, Yeovil Town and Grimsby Town and it is that wealth of experience that Laws hopes can help his side restore some confidence, particularly at the back.
"Sam will learn a lot off Steven. He's got an abundance of games under his belt and he's a communicator as well," Laws continued.
"That's something we're lacking a wee bit in defence. We haven't got what I would call an organiser or a leader at the back.
"The goalkeeper is vital to that and that breeds confidence within defenders.
"We'll see what we get from the defence. Hopefully we'll get a reaction from Saturday – it might even help a bit further up the pitch when they can hear a voice.
"Bringing in Steven is a starting point. You can look at all the different positions within the team, but the important thing is we're leaking goals and we've got to stop them.
"I talked about having to beg, steal and borrow and my knees are sore from begging, but that's what we're going to have to do.
"I'm not afraid to pick up the phone and speak to a manager and get to the point of almost begging them.
"I know one or two managers owe me a favour. I've helped them in the past and there was always the chance that favour might need to be returned.
"Millwall have done that and we thank their manager for that.
"Hopefully Steven will start that recovery."