10 October 2014 20:10
Scunthorpe United will get the chance to make an early impression on incoming boss Mark Robins when they visit Gillingham on Saturday.
Despite having led the club to promotion last term, Russ Wilcox paid the price for a run of four straight defeats when sacked earlier this week, with United above only Crewe Alexandra in the League One table.
Former Rotherham United, Barnsley, Coventry City and Huddersfield Town head coach Robins is the man charged with inspiring an upturn in fortunes.
Robins will not officially take over until Monday, so must watch on from the stands and hope for the best along with the travelling Scunthorpe faithful at Priestfield Stadium this weekend.
However, his appointment has led to an immediate improvement at all four previous clubs and chairman Peter Swann is praying the ex-Manchester United striker can work his magic again.
“All the places that he’s been, he’s done a great job and got them back on track,” Swann told the Scunthorpe Telegraph.
“My remit was to try to find a manager who had been there and done it and actually been successful. It was important we got someone who knows what it takes to get out of that bottom four and be competitive again.
“For me, he seemed to be the ideal candidate. We’ve got a lot in common; we want the same things and a successful football club. Hopefully we can solidify our position and get ourselves up the league.”
Gillingham are also towards the wrong end of the table in 18th, five places and the same number of points above their opponents, but they are unbeaten at home in the league this term, with three wins and two draws.
Up at the top, leaders Bristol City have dropped just two points from five games at Ashton Gate so far and Steve Cotterill will seek to celebrate being named manager of the month for September by beating Chesterfield at home.
With second-placed Swindon Town not in action, Peterborough United can leapfrog them by bucking a trend of two straight away defeats and prevailing at Crawley Town.
Kevin Nugent enjoyed his first victory as caretaker manager of Leyton Orient in Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy triumph at Dagenham and Redbridge and will look to transfer that form to the league when they visit Sheffield United.
Both these teams were among the pre-season favourites for promotion, but will meet at Bramall Lane with the Yorkshire club in 11th and the London outfit down in 20th, just a point above the relegation zone.
United have won their last four games at home, though, and prevailed 1-0 at Orient in the League Cup last month in what proved to be Russell Slade’s final match in charge.
“It was a strange atmosphere when we played down there in the League Cup and we took full advantage to progress to the next round,” admitted United boss Nigel Clough.
“But things appear to have calmed down at Orient now and in my opinion Kevin Nugent is the best person to carry on the excellent work of Russell from last season.”
Colchester United entertain Fleetwood Town, rock-bottom Crewe host Coventry City, Walsall visit Oldham Athletic and Yeovil Town travel to Port Vale in other Saturday fixtures.
On Sunday, Barnsley will hope to avoid a fourth defeat in five home games this term when staging a Yorkshire derby against Bradford City, who are unbeaten in their last four league games.