Scunthorpe United need every player to step up to plate with goals, says ex-midfielder Lee Turnbull
ABELATED Happy New Year to you all given this is my first column of 2013.
The Iron may be unbeaten so far this year, albeit with just two points instead of the full compliment of six, but in my opinion that is scant reward for the team's efforts.
Elements of both home performances against Oldham Athletic and Shrewsbury Town were very good.
There is a much higher tempo to our play, a more forward-thinking mindset and indeed more crosses and chances created under Brian and Russ.
After being two-up against Oldham on New Year's Day, the game was there to be closed out and won.
But after Iron legend Cliff Byrne pulled one back, you could feel a nervous tension engulf Glanford Park and the Latics grabbed an equaliser.
After the tough, tough Christmas games away at Sheffield United and Tranmere, I'm sure both games to start 2013 were targeted as a points-fest.
As it turned out we only drew both games, but a clean sheet and the numerous number of chances created against the Shrews certainly gives me more hope of surviving the drop than at any time previously this season.
However, points make prizes and this month is huge in terms of defining our season.
With a glut of fixtures involving teams that are around us in the lower reaches of the division it is imperative we get that winning feeling back.
Since Leon Clarke went back to Charlton – and has since been sent to Coventry – it has been glaringly apparent that his goalscoring touch is missing.
I'm sure big Leon would have taken one of the many chances the Iron created against Shrewsbury, but we can't cry over spilt milk.
Nathan Ellington looked a real handful in the first half at the weekend and was a tad unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
I'd expected Nathan to return to Ipswich once his loan was up earlier this week. Unfortunately we never saw the best of him in his time here so I'm not sure he will be a big loss.
Karl Hawley is the spearhead of our attack at present and always puts a shift in.
Karl has chipped in with a few goals but needs a foil up top to bring the best out of him. Signing Akpo Sodje adds some strength to the front line, which I'm sure will benefit both Karl and the team.
Goals though come from all areas of the pitch and we do have to produce more from midfield and wide areas.
Niall Canavan has got a few from set plays and Mark Duffy is always good for a goal or two. Even Christian Ribeiro has a couple, but that 20-goal-a-season forward, or goalscoring midfielder, is lacking.
On Saturday's evidence, Michael Collins could be the answer.
He loves to get forward and link play and he has excellent technique around the box, although his swinger (left peg) might need a bit of work!
Prior to joining the Iron, Micky was always good for a goal at Huddersfield at this level and with a clean bill of health he should be getting seven or eight goals a season.
Damien Mozika seems to have had the dreaded Turnbull injury curse.
Since he joined the club he has been blighted by injuries, which have curtailed the number of appearances he's made – similar to my playing time here at Glanford Park.
Damo though is another who can chip in with a goal or two, and if we can keep him and Michael Collins fit the goals will flow, hopefully, and pull us clear of the bottom four.
The next month is indeed pivotol to the Iron's survival hopes.
Colchester away, Pompey at home and a trip to Carlisle are games we need to take points from.
Colchester is never an easy place to go but they are currently on a horrendous run of form, losing eight on the bounce, so if we start quick and try to grab that first goal I can see a victory.
Portsmouth have had problems all season and with the impending 10-point deduction looming for when they come out of administration, it could be a good time to play them and put them to the sword.
Carlisle are also having an indifferent season and although Brunton Park can be an intimidating environment, it again provides us with an opportunity of hurting those nearest and dearest to us in the league table.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? But what a lift nine points would give us. Indeed it would define our season.
With a couple of additions in January and a run of form, this team under Brian and Russ's guidance can get into the oasis of mid-table security. Keep believing.