The FA Trophy offers an opportunity for a break from the battles at either end of the table for both these sides.
Wrexham's pursuit of the title will pause, opening up the possibility of squad rotation for Phil Parkinson before league hostilities resume on Saturday with the visit of Bromley.
The Red Dragons turned in possibly their best away performance of the season last weekend, comfortably triumphing at Eastleigh, whose home record is second only to Wrexham's.
Phil Parkinson rotated his midfield, and Tom O'Connor showed what he can add to that part of the pitch with a commandingly assured performance. With Andy Cannon now available to make his debut, Parkinson's options in the middle of the park are impressive, despite the absence of Jordan Davies.
Players who are returning from injury might get a chance to get some minutes under their belts, with Rob Lainton, Jacob Mendy, Reece Hall-Johnson and Harry Lennon all pushing for a chance. However, Parkinson isn't likely to shuffle his pack too much: he didn't acquire his impressive cup record by throwing home ties away!
Scunthorpe United are suffering an inconceivably bad start to their first campaign in the National League. With just three league wins all season, all at home, they find themselves bottom of the table, and although safety is an attainable five points away, this is hardly what they expected when they began the campaign with victory over Yeovil in August.
Last Saturday saw The Iron play the reverse fixture, and they emerged from Huish Park with a creditable goalless draw. That result halted an alarming run of six consecutive defeats, and was, remarkably, their first clean sheet of the season. Indeed, their most recent clean sheet was achieved last March in a goalless draw at Crawley, 36 games ago. Furthermore, their last away win came on Boxing Day last year, 25 away games ago, at Oldham in a clash of the two sides who ultimately would go down.
The form might be worrying, but Scunthorpe's fans have shown terrific loyalty through these troubling times. The pilgraimage they made to Somerset showed how desperate they are to see things turn around, and the players appreciated their support. They weren't rewarded with a win, but they did see an improved performance, and United were unfortunate not to complete a rare league double.
The England game and maybe the possibility of it being off, you can’t thank them enough. They follow us up and spend their hard earned money and it’s what thrives us on to do well and to keep pushing. We can only thank them for supporting us.
-Scunthorpe midfielder Finley Shrimpton.
Their loyalty hasn't only been tested by results. Behind the scenes the club has been subject to turmoil as potential new owners sought to take control. Tony Daws, who had been interim manager since the dismissal of Keith Hill in September, stood down a fortnight ago after a takeover bid fell apart following the failure of the putative new owners, who were London-based property developers, to provide evidence of funds.
Better news was to follow, though, as the collapse of the deal opened the way for a new group to step in, headed by Iron fans Simon Elliott and Ian Sharp. Their bid was the preferred option for Scunthorpe fans, and it was approved at the start of last week, meaning the club can now hope for the much-needed stability required to breed success.
HEAD TO HEAD
The sides met for the first time in the National League last month at Glanford Park, and Wrexham ran out 3-1 winners. Ollie Palmer opened the scoring half way through the first half, and Aaron Hayden doubled the lead with a typical towering header.
However, The Iron pulled a goal back against the run of play just before the break to create hope of a fightback for the home team. That was quashed when Paul Mullin tapped the ball home in the 70th minute.
That win maintained Wrexham's impressive record at Glanford park. Since Scunthorpe moved there in 1988, we've won 5 and lost 6 of 13 matches.
Wrexham have plenty of history of meeting Scunthorpe United in knock-out competitions, and generally we've come out on top.
Six FA Cup ties, stretching back to 1954, have seen Wrexham progress 4 times. Indeed, our biggest win over United came in that competition two seasons later, when we drew 0-0 at The Old Showground before triumphing 6-2 in the replay.
We were 2-0 down after 20 minutes, and played poorly but managed to take the game into extra time, with Peter Thompson getting the crucial second with four minutes left. Wrexham clicked in the extra half hour, though, scoring four goals and, were it not for the heroics of Iron keeper Terry Charlesworth the margin of victory could have been ever greater.
Karl Connolly scored our only hat trick in this fixture in 1999 to clinch a sensational 4-3 win against a Scunthorpe side which refused to lie down. Late goals dragged them back from 3-1 down to go into the last minute level, but Connolly popped up with a late goal to secure his hat trick and a place in the fourth round.
Three years earlier Connolly had featured in a remarkable FA Cup tie involved the two teams. We drew 2-2 at The Racecourse in the second round, Steve Watkin scoring an 89th minute equaliser to earn a replay. That match would be a remarkable affair: Scunthorpe led from the 6th minute until Bryan Hughes popped up with a 70th minute goal. However, two minutes later Wrexham were behind again and looked down and out until an incredible 87th minute error by The Iron keeper, kicking the ball into the ground to make it spin backwards towards his own goal, allowed Steve Morris to keep the tie alive in the 87th minute.
In extra time Steve Watkin converted a 114th minute penalty to send Wrexham through to the third round, where West Ham United awaited!
We suffered a depressing day at Glanford Park in December 2004, losing a televised second round FA Cup tie 2-0 on the same day that it was announced that we had gone into administration, but had a much happier experience almost two years later to the day when Mark Jones and Kevin Smith scored in a 2-0 win at the same stage of the competition.
We also came out on top from behind in Scunthorpe in the LDV Vans Trophy in 1987, with goals by Steve Buxton and Steve Charles earning a 2-1 win, but four years later we were beaten comfortably in the first round of the League Cup. An Andy Thackeray goal earned us a 1-0 home win in the home leg, but we weren't up to the task of defending that advantage in the return match, and lost 3-0.
A rather more successful two-legged clash with The Iron came in May 1987, when we clashed in the semi-finals of the Fourth Division play-offs. The first leg was at The Racecourse, and after two minutes we were ahead thanks to Darren Wright. Scunthorpe equalised in the tenth minute, but by the break Ollie Kearns had struck twice to sonclude the scoring.
Three days later the sides met again at Glanford Park, and within two minutes Kevin Russell had calmed our nerves with the opening goal. He got a second in the 34th minute and we cruised through to the final.
WREXHAM IN THE THIRD ROUND OF THE FA TROPHY
Wrexham have a varied record in the third round of the FA Trophy, which generally depends on whether the manager is taking it seriously or not. Of course, circumstances matter: Andy Morrell led us to the trophy in 2013, but the previous season he selected a heavily-rotated side which lost at home to Hinckley Town as he naturally focussed on a challenge for the National League title while also enjoying an FA Cup run.
Dean Keates definitely saw the competition as a distraction from the main business of getting back into the Football League: he oversaw four campaigns and we lost in the first round every time, often with seriously depleted sides! His best result came two seasons ago, when we lost on penalties at home to Leamington Spa!
This occasionally cavalier attitude to the competition means that, in 14 tilts at the FA Trophy, we’ve gone out at the first hurdle exactly half of the time!
However, if we do negotiate the opening round we tend to go deep into the competition, with a run to the quarter finals and three visits to Wembley included in our other seven campaigns.
Wrexham's FA Trophy Record
Our record in the competition against sides from the same division as us is solid. At The Racecourse we've won six of our 11 games against National League sides, and have enjoyed five wins on enemy soil too.
Wrexham's FA Trophy Record By Division of OpponentPOTENTIAL MILESTONES
James Jones' 75th Wrexham appearance.
Liam McAlinden's 50th Wrexham appearance.