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Scunthorpe recap

With a history of recent slip ups to lower league opposition, there is a tendancy to view fixtures such as last nights with a degree of trepidation, and when we gifted Scunthorpe an equaliser after going ahead so early, there could well have been a sense of foreboding around the stadium.

This season though there has been the first suggestions that the old mentality is being cast aside and rather than Scunthorpe's goal spelling disaster, the exact opposite was true as we went on the front foot and sealed our progression through to the quarter-finals in convincing fashion.

In fact, all three fixtures in the Carling Cup (Crystal Palace and Fulham prior to last night) this season now have been tricky ties that in days past could have caught us out, but all have been navigated in professional fashion.

Every bit of pleasing as the result last night though, must have been the performance of the side which contained a number of changes. Sylvinho and Roque Santa Cruz made their first starts for the club, Vincent Kompany and Michael Johnson returned to the side after long spells out. Stephen Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips were back after time on the bench, whilst Vladimir Weiss gained further experience.

Even Benjani was afforded a ten minute spell at the end of the game.

Pleasing then that both Johnson and Santa Cruz were on the scoresheet, with Santa Cruz hopefully gearing up for a full return to fitness in time for when Emmanuel Adebayor is missing through African Cup of Nations duty in January.

Of course we are now through to the quarter-finals of the competition, a stage where we have faltered with some abject displays in recent times. Talk is cheap but we do look a different prospect than previously.

Now would be a good time to show it.