Shrewsbury fan Glyn Price from Blue & Amber Fanzine gives us the lowdown on Saturday’s visitors, who are finally getting their act together following missing out on promotion to the Championship last term.
1) It’s been a slow start following such an impressive season last year, but recent results have seen an improvement. Is this new look side still finding its feet and what are the realistic aims for this year?
Its been a bit of a culture shock this season!
We didn’t win for 11 games while last year we won the first 11, but there has been a suspicion we were being hard done by throwing wins away with silly mistakes and missing loads of chances. In fairness the squad came together very late on and the manger said the first few weeks were like pre season. We seem to be over that now, unbeaten in 6 and with the first win on the board targets have gone back to 10-15th finish. There is no reason to think we can’t start to climb significantly.
2) Some Shrewsbury fans that are suggesting you are playing better football than last year, but results have been harder to come by. Is that the case?
I’m not 100% sure on this and it might be to early to tell still.
Let’s be frank we have only won once, but also drawn a lot of games. Fact is we are hard to score against but also profligate in-front of goal. The return of Lee Angol from injury has helped us turn a corner in front of goal so the last few weeks things have looked better and we are playing well. BUT to say the football is better than last season….. that would be to diminish the work rate, never say die attitude and commitment of last seasons squad.
That was a special team in a special season, and this is a results business. Hurst had the touch to get the win, which until last week Askey had not. Now its time to Askey to show he can do something similar. To be fair to Askey, I would suggest his approach is slightly more attacking than Hurst which is why its “looked” better.
3) Paul Hurst couldn’t quite get you over the line last year and left. How big a loss was his departure and how do you rate the new boss John Askey?
Losing Hurst was a big loss just for the sake of losing that consistent approach and the knock on effect being that last years well liked and respected team has been ripped to shreds. Hurst’s manner of departure also soured his reputation with a lot and then he came back and nicked Nsiala and Nolan at the very end of the window which unsettled us and helped cause the slow start we have had.
He was brilliant for us in terms of last season (and the season before when he saved us from certain relegation) so it was a very bittersweet summer for Salop fans. It’s not going well for him at Ipswich though is it and on current form it looks like Hurst’s side are heading for relegation to League One!I really don’t think they have enough to stay up but you can take advantage of some great sports betting promos currently available online if you agree with me!
As for Askey, its been a slow build. He’s quite dull in interview, was slow to get a bond with fans and this was not helped by the lack of wins. There was even a moment a few games in when one of subs was met with a chorus of “you don’t know what your doing!”
At another club he might have been under bigger pressure, but Salop fans are level headed and always willing to give a manager a chance. That said the win on Saturday was huge for him and some of the worries and niggles about him being out of depth have been put to the side for the moment. What can he do at this club, really the jury is still out, but a nice little run now might start to turn the tide with those fans who are still not convinced by him.
4) You lost some key players in the summer with a couple following Hurst to Ipswich. Who do you miss most and have you replaced them?
We certainly miss Jon Nolan the most, in the opening games the craft and style he would bring as the most advanced of central midfielders was notably absent. The signing of Greg Docherty has gone to solve that issues for the moment with dynamism and eye for goals bringing something different in that area.
You could also say we miss Dean Henderson in goal. Coleman has been solid, but Henderson is box office and I think will play for England in goal… he’s that good and its no shock he’s getting rave reviews for Sheffield United in the Championship this season.
6) Ex Iron Luke Waterfall has slotted straight into the side since his arrival from Lincoln. He never really got a chance at Scunthorpe. How is he getting on?
Well he came in with a big issue to get over! He did a blatant handball for Lincoln in the Checkatrade final against us last season and got away with it (and kinda cost us the game) so he was always going to have to do well for fans to forgive him for that!
As for how he’s doing, he is clearly an Askey favorite as he dropped Skipper Matt Salder for him early in the season and he’s played pretty much every game. But he’s given away 4 penalty’s already this season! Can you believe that! He’s looked ropey at times against pace and others he’s looked solid and a real leader. Certainly a player that fans are still split on with views on solid to pub footballer!
7) Which other players should we look out for in the Shrewsbury side?
As we have picked up over the last few weeks a few players are starting to stand out and the main main has become Greg Docherty on loan from Rangers. Dynamic, strong, hell of a shot, a leader and good range of passing. Certainly a player to build around. IN addition to that its become apparent its the midfield 3 who are the key players for us.
Anthony Grant signed from Peterborough and has been a real rock sitting in front of the defence and Ollie Norburn possesses a hell of a long shot!
Striker Lee Angol is 3 goals in 3 now and we are just starting to see him come good. He might prove to be the best of the lost if he keeps up his recent form.
8) Have you got a score prediction for us?
1-1 – As I said we don’t score many, and we don’t let many in. So 1-1 would be a likely result
Another prediction for you, it wont snow! I went to the last game and at the age of 37 and probably 500+ games of football attended I can tell you, without doubt, that is the COLDEST I have ever been at a football game. Absolutely crazy day. My wife and kids also came to the game and for children it was too much and they all abandoned the game after 20 mins and went to the warmer Costa Coffee in the retail park next to the ground!
9) You were the first side to introduce safe standing this summer. How has that been received in the opening few games of the campaign?
Its been fantastic, local and national (even global) press have been all over it and its helped elevate the club’s profile a lot. As for how it works, its massively helped the atmosphere too. Previously all singing fans used to be in the west stand near the away fans. Now they have sort of split and half moved to the safe standing behind the goal. rather than dilute the atmosphere its sort of doubled it!
As such chants go around the ground more, its louder and the crowd sound more engaged and supportive. Its been busy at all times and after the slow start on the pitch the safe standing area off the pitch as been the stand out thing about the opening weeks. As a fan I’m very very proud of the whole scheme.