Mansfield Town manager John Dempster expects winless Scunthorpe side to find their feet in League Two very soon.
Despite them sitting bottom with a single point after last season’s relegation calamity, with having an experienced manager and players, Dempster expects the Iron to provide tough opposition in Saturday’s clash at the One Call Stadium.
“It will certainly be a battle,” he said. “Paul Hurst has a proven track record
“We are going to have to show courage and character. We’re going to have to fight.
“They have an experienced manager who will command a decent pay packet and they have invested heavily on experienced players who have come in on good money recently.
“I have no doubt that Scunthorpe will, over a period of time, climb the Football League.
“We have to make sure that’s not Saturday. We just need to worry about ourselves.
“If we show the courage, passion and fight that’s within our squad and feed off our supporters – who are passionate about this football club – I am sure we can get all three points.”
Last season, Scunthorpe lost plenty of key players during the summer, losing Duane Holmes, Murray Wallace, Conor Townsend and Hakeeb Adelakun – four men who had been a big part of helping them to the play-offs for the previous two seasons.
The Iron never really recovered from losing those players and were either unable to replace them or the players that came in came in too late or were not of the same quality.
The defence really struggled last season, conceding 83 goals and invariably when they conceded one, they another one or two very quickly.
The Iron also had three managers last season – Nick Daws, Stuart McCall and Andy Dawson – and that that stability did not help the side.
Although Hurst took over during the summer, there still seems to be a bit of a hangover from last season, with some of the defensive problems still remaining, despite different personnel.
When they go behind, they often do not look like they can get back in the game. But, like Stags, they have also had rotten luck with injuries, with plenty on the treatment table.
The fans are worried and frustrated to see their side sitting bottom and the pressure will only increase the longer a wait for a win goes.
But the majority realise that sacking Hurst is probably not the answer given how many managers the club has had in the last few years.
It does need stability and there have been a few signs in the past couple of games that things are slowly improving but the ball just needs to be put in the back of the net.
Scunthorpe have signed 11 new players during the summer as Paul Hurst looks to put his own stamp on the squad.
Up front has been a problem area for them, and with Lee Novak injured and Wootton and Olomola departing, he has brought in George Miller from Barnsley and Jamie Proctor from Rotherham on season-long loans.
In defence Andy Butler and Kgosi Ntlhe joined on permanent deals, while Junior Brown came in from Coventry on a loan deal until January.
Yann Songo’o came in from Plymouth on a one year deal and Regan Slater joined on a season long loan from Sheffield United.
Hurst also raided his old club Shrewsbury, with Alex Gilliead, Abo Eisa and John McAtee all joining the Iron, while goalkeeper Jake Eastwood joined on loan from Sheffield United as back up to Rory Watson.
The one big departure during the summer was Josh Morris, who joined Fleetwood, but it was expected as it was widely known that he had rejected the offer of a new contract.
During the summer, Charlie Goode has left for Northampton, while Cameron Burgess (Salford) Olufela Olomola (Carlisle United) and Kyle Wootton (Notts County) have all left on season long loans.
After losing a host of players injured, some are now returning to fitness.
Definitely out on Saturday due to injury are Lee Novak (ankle), Lewis Butroid (ankle), Jacob Bedeau (knee), Levi Sutton (medial ligaments), Jordan Hallam and Kgosi Nlthe.
Jordan Clarke and Andy Butler came off at the weekend but Clarke was it enough to play again in midweek in the Leasings.com trophy.
Ryan Colclough is back from a cruciate ligament injury and played in midweek, while Mansfield-born James Perch completes the last of a three match suspension.
Scunthorpe will be lifted by Tuesday night’s Leasings.com Trophy 2-1 win at local rivals Grimsby Town.