INTERNATIONAL saver Russ Howarth is pledging to show nerves of steel tomorrow to dent the promotion hopes of the Iron.

With number one Alan Fettis ruled out after damaging knee ligaments in Tuesday night's 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers, Howarth will end a two-year drought at the final time of asking this term.

It will be his first Football League start since February 2000.

Two years ago and that game with Exeter, only the second in manager Terry Dolan's reign, ended 0-0 and Howarth admitted he would be delighted with a repeat performance tomorrow.

"Another clean-sheet would be great," he told the Evening Press.

"But it'll just be nice to get a start, even if it is only for the last game of the season.

"I'm really looking forward to it because it's been a while.

"But there'll be no fear on my part. All I can do is my best."

The clash with United promises an electric atmosphere. The Iron must win if they are to have any chance of a play-off place.

"You're always going to get a big crowd when it's the last game of the season and the fact they must get three points if they are to reach the play-offs means it should be a good game," said Howarth, who got a taste of League action on Tuesday when he replaced the injured Fettis in the second half.

"It was a shame for Alan but I could see as soon as he went down he wouldn't be staying on," said Howarth, pictured below left.

"I really enjoyed it and even though it wasn't for very long I got more out of it than the last couple of reserve games.

"You can't beat playing in the first team for atmosphere."

Even in those 30 minutes or so against the Pirates, Howarth showed enough to see why he is rated as one of the country's top young goalkeepers.

He made a number of telling claims at crosses and pulled off a fine save after a Wayne Carlisle free-kick pierced the wall to leave the City faithful chanting his name.

"It was nice to hear that," said Howarth. "I was pleased with how it went and I just hope I can take it on into the next game.

"It maybe the last game of the season but it is still a chance to impress and I will take just one game at the moment given that I've not played for so long."

Howarth - out of contract with City in the summer - is not only out to impress any watching scouts but the England Under-20 selectors too.

Capped at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level prior to his three caps for England Under-20s this season, Howarth hopes to hear soon whether he has been selected for young lions' squad to compete in the prestigious Toulon Tournament later this year.

"I'm not sure when it is going to be announced but I think a lot will depend on when the Under-21 squad and the senior squad for the World Cup is announced," he explained.

"Who is selected for that could have an effect on just who will be available for the Under-21s and then the Under-20s."

Updated: 11:44 Friday, April 19, 2002