We get the lowdown on Saturday’s opponents Shrewsbury Town from Salop fan Dale Skitt (@daleskitt).
Micky Mellon made some decent signings in the summer and you were certainly thought of by some Iron fans as a side that could be the surprise package this year. It’s been a bit of a slow start so far, can you put your finger on why?
It’s been a disappointing start considering the aim for Micky Mellon was to assemble an experienced squad with players who have been mainly recruited from fellow League 1 clubs or above. Our defence is the biggest concern at the moment as it feels like we have to score at least two goals to get at least a point out of the game. The lack of clean sheets is frustrating and if we can remedy that we might start getting somewhere as I feel this squad is capable of getting goals.
2) He’s obviously been given a bit of cash to spend to strengthen but fans are criticising his tinkering with team line ups, formations and negative tactics. Do you feel he is the right man to take Shrewsbury forward long term?
From a personal point of view I desperately want him to be the man who can take this club forward but not everyone shares that view, some thought he should have gone after the 7-1 disaster at Chesterfield in January and others thought he should have gone at the end of last season after we stayed up by the skin of our teeth
He is a decent fella who always seems to have a good word for the supporters, the club and the town itself but it is now at the stage where fans are calling for him to go after every defeat and I’d suspect it would be the same again if we lost to yourselves.
Scunthorpe go into the match deserved favourites following their solid start to the season. You can get Scunthorpe to win at odds of 11/10 on the netbet sports betting website, whilst Shrewsbury are priced at 23/10.
3) Given the fact you are at home, do you expect to be a little more adventurous in your play this weekend?
This is the problem, MM seems occupied with setting up teams simply not to get beat regardless of style or substance. This can work well away from home where the team can absorb pressure and then hit teams on the break and this probably explains why our away record was far better than our home record last season.
For home games you would expect the home team to take the initiative a little but we seem more keen to repeat our away tactics on our own turf by being more reactive than proactive. This doesn’t make for great viewing, seeing away teams have too much possession and the supporters are starting to lose patience with this as well as our shocking home record overall.
4) Jim O’Brien signed in the summer. He impressed for us last year on loan but hasn’t played for you in the last couple of games. Is he injured or just not performing?
He’s currently injured, I like the look of him from what I’ve seen so far, he’s vastly experienced and we will need to draw on his experience and knowhow as the season goes on.
5) Captain Adam El-Abd was sent off last week and misses the game. How much of a loss is he?
We will probably miss his organisational skills more than anything. As a captain he certainly likes to lead and wears his heart on his sleeve, but probably a little too much at the moment as he’s already picked up four yellows and one red so far! It was amusing seeing him celebrate our equaliser at Bury in the away end after he was sent off, but he just needs to calm down a little!
6) Who else should we look out for in the Shrewsbury side?
Ivan Toney the striker on loan from Newcastle has got off the mark in the last two away games at Oldham and Bury although he is doubtful for this game as Mellon has revealed he hasn’t trained so far this week.
We also have a former Barcelona youth player in our ranks in Moha El-Ouriachi Choulay who is currently on loan from Stoke, Junior Brown the wing back with a striking resemblance to Real Madrid’s Marcelo is a crowd favourite with his darting runs down the left flank. Louis Dodds who we signed from Port Vale in the summer has already chipped in a few goals.
7) Are there any weaknesses we could exploit?
We play quite a slow tempo game and seem to struggle against teams who ‘hurry us up’ into making a pass, so if Scunthorpe play a fast paced game we may struggle there.
8) How are Shrewsbury likely to line up and can you give us a score prediction?
We have been playing a 3-4-1-2 formation in recent games but with El-Abd suspended this may change and may revert to a flat back four, with MM’s constant tinkering anything is possible and your guess would probably be as good as mine!
As for a score prediction, I’m not overly confident considering Scunthorpe’s recent form but I can’t predict my side to lose no matter how pessimistic I am so I’ll go for a repeat of last season’s result with a 2-2 draw.