Graham Alexander named as Scunthorpe boss

Former Fleetwood Town manager Graham Alexander walks to the dugouts before kick-off against Gillingham . Photographer Kevin Barnes/CameraSport.
Former Fleetwood Town manager Graham Alexander walks to the dugouts before kick-off against Gillingham . Photographer Kevin Barnes/CameraSport.

Former Fleetwood Town boss Graham Alexander has returned to management at Scunthorpe United.

Ex-Burnley and Preston North End player Alexander has just been unveiled as United boss six months since he was sacked by Fleetwood.

It is the 44-year-old’s first management role since leaving Highbury in September 2015 after nearly three years in charge.

Alexander took over the reins at Fleetwood in 2012 and guided them to League One after winning promotion via the League Two play-offs in May 2014.

But he was sacked on September 30 after Town’s 5-1 defeat at Gillingham.

Full-back and midfielder Alexander came through the ranks at Scunthorpe and made 159 appearances for the Iron after making his debut in 1999.

He left the Iron to join Luton Town in 1995 and moved to PNE in 1999.

The ex-Scotland international made 354 appearances in his first spell at the Lilywhites before joining Burnley in 2007.

Alexander made 154 appearances for the Clarets before rejoining PNE in 2011.

He ended his playing career at Deepdale after a further 18 appearances in the 2011-12 season and was voted North End’s greatest ever right back by the fans in 2013.

But now the penalty specialist has reignited his management career and has signed a three-and-a-half year contract at Scunthorpe.

He will take charge for the first time of the League One club - who are 13th in the league and 12 points above Fleetwood - at Barnsley on Good Friday.

Alexander told Scunthorpe-United.co.uk: “Just coming up the motorway there, the butterflies started coming as soon as I could see the floodlights coming into view. I realised it was 28 years since I made that first drive as a 16-year-old and I feel as excited as I did then. It’s fantastic to be back.

“I heard about the new stadium, which is in the pipeline, and I remember coming here to Glanford Park when it was brand new. It’s amazing; not just for the infrastructure of the club, but also where the team wants to go.

“I’m an ambitious guy, I want to win things. The guys in charge at the club are exactly the same and I’m sure we’ll do great things here.

“There are a lot of good players in this squad without a doubt. For whatever reason it hasn’t fulfilled its potential this season, but that’s my remit – to come and assess, and try to improve it.

“Any manager when he comes into a new club has to look at where he needs to put his stamp on things, and get the players to enjoy their football and play as well as they can.

“It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days. When any manager gets a new job they just want to get on the training pitch and be with the players. I’m really looking forward to meeting them on Wednesday, and the staff too ahead of that.

“We’re all in the same boat, we all want Scunthorpe to do well.”

Alexander will be assisted by Nick Daws (assistant manager) and Andy Dawson (first team coach).

Scunthorpe initially appointed Daws as manager until the end of the season.

Daws and Dawson took over after Mark Robins was sacked in January but Iron chairman Peter Swann revealed why Alexander had been drafted in with nine games to go.

He said: “Over the last couple of weeks we’ve felt it quite important that, if we were to have a manager in place, now would be a good time.

“It made a lot of sense. We have nine games remaining this season and we’ll do whatever can be done within that, but it will give him a chance to get organised for the summer, target any new players and plan what we need to do for pre-season training.

“I’ve been out there and interviewed a few people and felt Graham was one of the best candidates for the job. I’m looking forward to Graham starting work, which begins with the game at Barnsley on Good Friday.

“Nick Daws and Andy Dawson have done a fantastic job, and have been very professional. They are still very much a big part of the football club.

“The priority has been to put someone in permanently. In the end, it’s a difficult decision as a chairman to appoint anybody. Graham has the advantage of three years’ managerial experience under him, through our league and below. He has an affinity with Scunthorpe, which is good as well having started his career with us, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”