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Clean sheets pleasing for McCann after Scunthorpe win

16 December 2018

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Manager Grant McCann says the whole team should take credit for the defensive improvements which have seen goalkeeper Ian Lawlor keep four consecutive clean sheets.

It has been more than 360 minutes since Lawlor had to pick the ball out of his net and McCann believes every player on the pitch deserves praise.

"The clean sheets have come from the hard work of the front three and the midfield three who press, and the back four, and Lawlor - every player is blocking shots and getting their heads and bodies in the way of things," he said.

"We went through that spell of three or four games where we were conceding a lot from set-plays, so we've changed it around. It's a credit to my staff that we've sat down, identified it, and worked on it but a bigger credit goes to the group for buying into it and defending like that. They're throwing their bodies on the line.

"If you look at Bristol Rovers, they went a different way about attacking set-plays and Scunthorpe did it too. They were both trying to work short ones but we're getting people out and blocking and I think that's what we need to do."

The clean sheets have come despite the absence of some key Rovers players including defender Joe Wright. McCann believes the recently-formed centre-back pairing of Andy Butler and Tom Anderson has been improving game on game.

"It was difficult for Anderson at the start of the season with the form of Butler and Wright. But the more he has played the more confident he has got, and he's building a partnership now with Andy Butler," added McCann.

"It's a credit to the team that we can be on this run without Niall Mason and Joe Wright, and without Tommy Rowe for the most part. They're three big players for us so it's a credit to the group that they're sticking strong. They're performing well and making sure that when these players come back to full fitness, they're going to find it tough to dislodge the boys who are in the team at the minute.

"The boys know that the team's playing well so they've all got to keep working hard to keep their place. It's a great conundrum for me to have."

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