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Match Previews

Opposition Boss: Graham Alexander

21 February 2018

Graham Alexander has been in the game for 20 years and it's hard to find someone with more experience than the Iron boss.

In what is his second full season at Glanford Park, Alexander looks likely to lead his side into the play-offs, with United sat 5th in the league with a six-point gap between them and 7th placed Plymouth Argyle.

Alexander and Scunthorpe will be desperate to achieve promotion to the Championship, having just missed out on an automatic spot last season only to out marginally 3-2 on aggregate to eventual play-off winners Millwall in the semi-finals.

Take a look at Alexander's career, both in the dugout and on the pitch.

Playing Career

Alexander was only 23 appearances away from a staggering 1000 when the former defender decided to hang up his boots.

His playing career began where his current managerial career is, at Scunthorpe United, rising through the youth ranks to make his first team debut in April 1991.

The season after his debut, Alexander established himself as a first team regular and remained with the club until 1995 before being unable to resist the chance to jump two leagues and play for Luton Town in what was known back then as the First Division.

After his first campaign with the Hatters, he was sadly relegated down to the third tier and remained a mainstay in the side at Kenilworth Road and the Second Division until half way through the 1998/99 season.

After leaving Luton, Alexander joined Preston North End, where he eventually became captain. During his eight-year stay at Deepdale, he accumulated over 400 appearances and was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season during the 2004/05 campaign. 

Eventually, in 2007, the defender moved to join Burnley and at age of thirty-seven, he helped Burnley to achieve promotion to the top flight for the first time in over thirty years.

Here's a pub quiz stat to remember - Alexander is the oldest player to make his Premier League debut, as he got his first taste of the top flight aged thirty-eight. The defender also recorded an impressive return of goals during his debut season in the Premier League, with eight to his name and was named Burnley's player of the season during the 2009/10 campaign.

At an international level, Alexander represented Scotland on over forty occasions, making his debut in a friendly against Nigeria in 2002.

Following his release by Eddie Howe at Turf Moor in 2011, Alexander rejoined Preston for one final season as professional, making just over twenty appearances in his final campaign. During a cameo appearance in Preston's end of season fixture against Charlton, Alexander curled home a free-kick with virtually the final touch of his playing career.

Soon after the conclusion of the 2011/12 season, Alexander was appointed Head of Youth Development at Deepdale.

Managerial Career

After a spell coaching at Preston, Alexander began his managerial career with Fleetwood Town in December 2012, where he spent almost three years, guiding them to promotion via the League Two play-offs in May 2014. 

After leaving Fleetwood in September 2015, the former Scottish international took control at the helm of Scunthorpe in March 2016.

Last season the Iron narrowly missed out on promotion via the SkyBet League One playoffs, losing to Millwall in the semi-final.

Alexander has an impressive win percentage during his time at the dugout at Glanford Park, with a 49.1% win percentage.  

Past Encounters

Alexander first faced Rovers as a Manager back in January 2013, while in charge of Fleetwood. On that occasion, Rovers registered a convincing 3-0 victory. Alexander got the better of Rovers during the 2013/14 season, as Fleetwood bagged the double, winning both encounters 3-1.

As Scunthorpe boss, Alexander is unbeaten in encounters against Rovers. The Iron picked up three points in the opening game of last season, with a 3-1 win. When the sides met in February 2017 at the Mem a 1-1 draw meant the points were shared, as Ollie Clarke's goal was cancelled out by a Tom Lockyer own goal in the second half.

Earlier this season, a stoppage-time strike by Neil Bishop's gave Alexander's side the victory after what was a tight contest.

Alexander's overall record v Rovers: Lost 1, Won 4, Drawn 1



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