Trip to Ireland provides pre-season tonic for Scunthorpe United
They've worked on their shape - both off the pitch and on it - and scaled new heights.
Manager Alan Knill says Scunthorpe United's pre-season training trip to Ireland has been a big success.
The Iron have spent the past four days based at the Carton House Hotel on the outskirts of Dublin, but later today return to England as they prepare to step up their pre-season preparations.
After matches against Bray Wanderers and Wayside Celtic this week, Scunthorpe play their first match of the summer at Glanford Park on Tuesday, when Grimsby Town visit in the Lincolnshire Cup (7pm).
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Knill is confident his side are plentiful in shape and spirit on the back of their trip across the Irish Sea.
"It has been a good trip, the facilities at the hotel are excellent," Knill told the Telegraph.
“I’m pleased with where we are at this stage of pre-season.”
“Wolves have been staying here as well so it’s given us a chance to see what they are doing and whether we can take anything from them.
“We’ve worked on a couple of different shapes while we’ve been over here because I want us to be flexible in what we do.
“I don’t want to be a rigid 4-4-2 or the like, especially with the back four, I want them to be flexible to allow us to do other things.
“On Wednesday we walked up a mountain and trained in the afternoon, though that was a bit more of a lighter session.
“A few of the lads were tired – and the coaching staff were very tired! But we've tried to do a few different things as well as being out on the training ground."
Both the Iron's matches against Irish opposition ended in 1-0 wins.
On Tuesday they beat Airtricity League side Bray thanks to a second-half goal from winger Andy Barcham.
"The players looked fit and passed the ball really well," said Knill on that clash.
“Really, there should have been more goals but it was a good performance.
“Bray were competitive and athletic, so it was a good test for us."
Last night, trialist Mark Hughes bagged the only goal of the game, completing a flowing counter-attacking move to earn Scunthorpe success at Wayside Celtic.
They fielded a much more experimental side against the Leinster Senior League outfit but Niall Canavan was fit to return after sitting out their previous match with a knee problem.
"We gave the lads who finished the game on Tuesday 55-60 minutes before bringing on the other guys," assistant boss Chris Brass told the club's official website.
"It was a good run-out for us, and it's been a good week in Ireland overall.
"We've kept a clean sheet in both games. That foundation was set in the latter part of last season and it's nice to see it continuing.
"We're looking forward now to getting back home and upping it a little bit more before we face Grimsby Town on Tuesday."