Grimsby Town make the short trip to the Sands Venue Stadium looking to avenge their 1-0 defeat to Scunthorpe United earlier in the season.
The Mariners will also be hoping to put back-to-back 3-0 defeats behind them, which put to bed any hope of a late playoff push under Ian Holloway this season.
Caretaker manager Russell Wilcox has not been afraid to experiment and Scunthorpe’s form since sacking ex-Grimsby manager Paul Hurst has been indifferent, with two wins, a draw and three defeats in that time.
Despite there seemingly being little at stake in terms of league positioning, with both teams rooted in mid-table, like any derby, bragging rights are there to be played for. Whilst there are several underlying sub-plots needing to be resolved between these two old rivals.
Back to reality for Grimsby
Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle compounded with the same result at the weekend was quite the wake-up call for Holloway’s side, as they extended their run to 12 games without a clean sheet.
Only relegation-threatened Macclesfield Town have been able to match that feat this season which is an indication of the task at hand for the Bristol-born manager.
After suffering their third defeat in four in Devon, Holloway shouldered the blame for the result. Speaking to Grimsby Live, the ex-Blackpool gaffer said: “We tried to press them, tried to close them, but to be honest I got my team selection wrong and I got my formation wrong.
“They were better than I thought they were. I thought we could impose ourselves on it, but at the end of the day I left my two centre-halves with two on them.”
Sub-plots upon sub-plots
In Scunthorpe’s 1-0 win in the first meeting between the two sides this season, the goalscorer Kevin van Veen stoked the fires of an intense rivalry as he celebrated his goal in front of the home fans at Blundell Park.
Although not in charge at the time, Holloway would later be asked about the incident at a fan forum in January, calling the Dutch striker a “Lucky ginger pig.”
Despite later apologising for the incident, the Mariners boss still feels van Veen was wrong to celebrate the way he did, with the whole fallout from the incident likely to only add more intensity on derby day.
To add to this, Grimsby have not won a league game at Scunthorpe since 1972, which is an added incentive for Town to get a result on Saturday.
The Iron will not miss the sight of Grimsby frontman James Hanson, whose double for AFC Wimbledon last season sent Scunthorpe well on their way to their inevitable relegation from League One. Luckily for them, he is currently sidelined with a groin injury which gives him no chance of returning for Saturday’s game.
The ex-Northampton Town man van Veen may not get his chance to inflict more damage to Scunthorpe’s Lincolnshire rivals after he and fellow attacker Abo Eisa missed their defeat to Swindon Town on Tuesday with minor groin and hamstring injuries respectively.
Scunthorpe United (3-4-3): Watson, Bedeau, Butler, McArdle, Butroid, McAtee, Perch, Gabriel, Green, van Veen, Gilliead.
Grimsby Town (4-3-3): McKeown, Garmston, Pollock, Waterfall, Hendrie, Whitehouse, Benson, Clifton, Vernam, Clarke, Tilley.