Alexander believes Scunthorpe can handle Millwall pressure

GRAHAM ALEXANDER is confident his Scunthorpe side can handle the pressure in their play-off semi-final against Millwall.

The Iron won their last five games of the League One season and overtook Fleetwood on the final day to finish third and set up a last-four meeting with the Lions.

Scunthorpe were 19 points ahead of Millwall after they won 3-0 at Glanford Park in December, but then won just five of their next 18 league games before a 3-1 loss at The Den in April.

Scunthorpe were in danger of dropping out of the top six before their late-season rally.

Millwall’s form, by contrast, has been patchy since Tottenham Hotspur ended their FA Cup run in the quarter-finals in March.

The Lions were primed to challenge for automatic promotion following their 2-1 win over MK Dons in early March, their 17th game unbeaten in all competitions.

But after their defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane they won just four of their last 11 league games to scrape into the play-offs with their 4-3 win at Bristol Rovers last Sunday.

Millwall have met Scunthorpe four times over two season and won just once.

The Iron pack plenty of firepower, finishing with 80 goals after 46 League One games, second only to champions Sheffield United and 14 more than Millwall.

Millwall have more experience of big-game occasions after their FA Cup run this season and their play-off final appearance at Wembley in 2015-16.

But Alexander insists his players will believe they can progress to this season’s decider.

“We’re going into it in good form,” Alexander said. “The players are in a good place mentally but that doesn’t guarantee anything.

“We did exceptionally well except for a six-week period when we couldn’t buy a win.

“But the players showed a great mentality to get ourselves out of that hole and show the form we did when we won seven of the last nine games. That gives the players great confidence going into these games.

“The mental side of it is a big thing once you get to these pressure games and looking at the big games we’ve played this season I think the players have handled those occasions really well.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly