AFC Wimbledon start the 2017/18 season at a venue that has proved to be a happy hunting ground in the past, but Neal Ardley is under no illusions about the size of the task that awaits.
The Dons won 2-1 in March at Glanford Park and earned an FA Cup triumph back in 2011. However, Scunthorpe came close to promotion last season – just pipped by eventual play-off winners Millwall in the semi-final – and Graham Alexander will be aiming to engineer another push.
Both sides tomorrow are likely to be much-changed from that match in March with new summer signings recruited by the two clubs.
"I would have thought that they will be in the top-six in the betting (to go up). In this game they will probably be strong favourites, but that's great because there is no pressure on us. We will go and have a crack at it and see how we do. We put in a really good performance there last season, but it will be two totally different teams now.
"All I can ask for from the boys is that they keep trying to do what we've been doing throughout pre-season and we handle doing that while under pressure with points at stake. That really needs to set the tone. If we win, then great, and that's what we're obviously aiming to do, but we will work on the process, rather than being totally results-driven."
More from Neal on tomorrow's game featured in our preview yesterday.
"We know it will be a tough game. They have had a little bit of change in personnel and style. As I always say, it is about what we do and we are not getting away from that message. I believe that if we can compete and play at the level we can, then we can win a lot of games and Saturday has to be the start of that.
"If you look at the history of Scunthorpe, last season was one of the most successful seasons since they have been in the Football League. That is where we will have to try and find that extra per cent or two within ourselves and put it altogether in the group and then you improve. We can't rest on what we did last season, we have reset everything back to zero and will work extremely hard to beat every challenge that will be put in front of us. The will to win and the approach has to be there.
Lyle Taylor has provided a boost for the Dons by returning to full training after a calf injury and he could feature against his old club. Jon Meades and Darius Charles are both still sidelined with knee injuries and the match will come too soon for Tom Soares (thigh). Deji Oshilaja, Kwesi Appiah and Callum Kennedy could all make their first competitive appearances since returning to the club. New signings Liam Trotter, Jimmy Abdou, George Long and Cody McDonald could all make their competitive debuts.
For Scunthorpe, Lewis Butroid and Luke Williams are definitely out injured. New signings Funso Ojo, Rory Mcardle, Matt Gilks, Cameron Burgess and Devonte Redmond could all make their debuts against Wimbledon.
Scunthorpe United 1-2 AFC Wimbledon (Parrett, Poleon)
Finishing position last season
Scunthorpe United - 3rd
AFC Wimbledon – 15th
Dons supporters can pay on the day to cheer on Neal Ardley's men. Please see our previous announcement for ticket prices.
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