THERE will be a familiar face in the Scunthorpe United dugout this evening with former Wanderers defender Neil Cox now in charge at Glanford Park.

It has been something of a managerial baptism of fire for the 49-year-old who played 80 times for Wanderers and was part of the team that were beaten 2-0 by Watford in the First Division play-off final at Wembley in 1999.

Following stints as assistant manager at AFC Wimbledon and Notts County, Cox returned to take charge of his hometown club – where he began his career 30 years ago – when he replaced Paul Hurst in August.

But there was to be no honeymoon period for the returning hero who saw his side lose seven of their opening nine League Two fixtures, an early season win against Carlisle and an opening day draw at Newport County the only reprieve.

Scunthorpe were also victims of an FA Cup upset, losing 3-2 at home to Solihull Moors in the first round earlier this month.

But since then, Cox (below, left) has managed to steady the ship, guiding his team to back-to-back wins over Oldham and Port Vale and it would have been three on the spin had it not been for Morecambe grabbing an injury-time equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

“I’m disappointed not to have won the game especially with the way we conceded the goal,” said Cox after the draw which saw them move to 11 points from 11 games.

“But I’m over the moon with seven points in the space of a week. The boys had a right good go. They were tired but they stuck in there and to be unbeaten in three is brilliant."

Cox will now assess the fitness of his squad ahead of tonight’s clash with Kevin van Veen coming off early in the weekend draw.

“Kev started the game but came off with not a hamstring, but more of a nerve situation. The new substitutes rule gave us the option to change it quickly and not risk him. So, we’ll see how he is,” Cox told the club website.

He added: “We’ve got a lot of tired bodies and we’ve got to wrap them up and see who is raring to go on Tuesday night.

“We’ll keep them ticking over and just have a look because we might have to rest one or two – we’ve got to be careful.”

It will be a first league meeting between the clubs since the 2016/17 season when the teams shared a victory apiece in League One.

Wanderers won 2-1 in a New Year’s Eve clash thanks to goals from Josh Vela and James Henry.

In the return fixture at Glanford Park in April, Scunthorpe won 1-0 thanks to a goal from David Mirfin.

On that occasion, Mark Howard played in goal for Wanderers and he is now the number one at Scunthorpe.