Robins has lifted PNE opponents

Paddy Madden will be a threat in front of goal
Paddy Madden will be a threat in front of goal
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Resurgent Scunthorpe travel to Deepdale today with half an eye on the play-off positions.

The Iron sit in 14th spot in League One, but are only five points behind Doncaster Rovers, who occupy the final play-off spot.

It is an amazing transformation for the club after they began the new season with just two wins from their opening 12 games.

That sequence of results cost Russ Wilcox his job as manager, despite the fact that he had led the club to promotion from League Two last season.

Former Huddersfield Town manager Mark Robins was installed as Wilcox’s successor and he has since 
led the club from the relegation zone to a respectable 
mid-table position.

He boasts nine victories from his 22 games in charge – only four defeats.

From a position where they were, staring relegation in the face, Scunthorpe are starting to look up rather than down.

However, Robins – who led his side to a 2-0 victory over Chesterfield at Glanford Parkin midweek – has quelled any promotion talk.

“We will just look at each game as it comes. I don’t know how we can talk about the play-offs yet,” Robins said.

“When I joined we were second-bottom, so we have got ourselves into a decent position compared to where we were earlier in the season, which has taken a lot of hard work and graft.

“There is a lot of football to be played between now and the end of the season. If in 10 or 12 games time we are still around those play-off places, then we can have another conversation about it.”

It is still relatively tight in the League One table with only three points separating Chesterfield in ninth and Crewe in 18th spot.

Robins said it is vital Scunthorpe continue to produce the kinds of performances they have shown during the past week in victories against Swindon Town and the Spireites.

“We cannot take our foot off the gas and we have to keep working,” Robins said.

“We have a lot of tough games coming up, none more so than the Preston game on Saturday.

“There are a lot of games coming thick and fast so we need to make sure we are able to put the performances in that are hopefully going to get us the results that we want.

“I think it is sensible to keep everybody’s feet on the ground and that is not me ducking away from anything.

“What the play-offs do is keep everyone talking about it because all the way up and down the league it is so tight everybody is talking about the same thing.”

Scunthorpe were demolished 4-0 by the Lilywhites earlier in the season and it will be another stern test of the Iron’s credentials.

“We are back on the road to Preston which we have got to focus on. We will look at picking a team and putting in a performance that hopefully can do something against a really good, hard-working and tough side.”

The Irons’ resurgence has not gone unnoticed by PNE boss Simon Grayson, who knows his team will have to be at their best to earn all three points tomorrow.

“Mark has gone in there and probably given them a little bit of belief,” Grayson said. “He’s changed a few personnel around and once you start winning games, that can spread around the players, the team and the club.

“They will probably have no fear of what is around the corner for them, whether that’s positive or negative.

“I think they will be looking up the table rather than what’s below them.

“Full credit to Robbo. We know what to expect tomorrow. They have some threats in Paddy Madden obviously and Gary McSheffrey might come back into the team.

“They have also one or two other experienced players, but they have also got a bit of youthful experience, with the way that they have used the loan system by signing players from Premier League clubs .”