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After the forced International break last weekend due the absences of Sam Morsy, Lee Evans and Owen Evans, Paul Cook takes his side to Shrewsbury to face another of the unbeaten League One sides.

Personally I'm not sure if I would have taken the break last weekend.  Granted Sam Morsy and Lee Evans are our starting midfield pair but we have plenty of options in that department and could have easily put an XI out that was capable of the win.  August is a busy month so maybe that had some bearing on the decision, but when you have changed your squad around like we have with a clear first and second XI being on show I don't think that that would have had too much of an effect either.  The idea I would expect was to keep things fresh and have a week on the training field rectifying any little problems that the coaching staff may have spotted, but when we were playing as we were I would have wanted to keep the momentum going.  Whether it was a good idea or not we will only find out later today.

The Portsmouth game was one of those days at the office that you will get in a season.  Even the great 2002/2003 Paul Jewell side had the odd bad day at the office.  At this stage of the season for example we lost our 100% record in a defeat to winless Port Vale before losing the following week at Colchester.  We then went on a 21 game unbeaten run which pretty much sealed promotion.  Yes we should have won that game by four or five and on another day we would have done just that, but it was one of those days and we need to forget it quickly.  That is probably another reason why I would have played the Northampton game (re-scheduled for September 19th) but the game had already been postponed at that stage which maybe Cook regretted.

Despite that result I don't expect to see too many changes.  We didn't lose the game and were dominant pretty much throughout, so there is no real need to hit the panic button just yet.  Ivan Toney is linking up well with Nick Powell, Morsy and Evans are bossing the midfield and our speed of attack has sides at this level struggling to cope.  Michael Jacobs and Gavin Massey could be a real threat for us this year.  Obviously we have two forced changes with Che Dunkley suspended and probably more worrying, Christian Walton out injured.  Alex Bruce will probably come in with Craig Morgan also injured and Donervon Daniels having left the club on loan.  The signing of Bruce was a strange one, but I thought he played well for Bury against us so will be a pretty strong backup.  Usually a centre back but he played a holding midfield role for Bury so can cover options depending on how Paul Cook decides to play.  Having options within your squad is never a bad thing.

The transfer window was pretty pleasing I thought with none of our big names leaving.  I was shocked to see Alex Gilbey leave but as he wants regular game time I can understand his and the clubs decision.  If Max Power can get his head right though then Gilbey won't be too big a loss with the performances of Sam Morsy and Lee Evans so far.

Paul Cook

"You might say they’ve been doing better than what people expected in terms of expectancy at the start of the season, but I think Paul and his staff would have been quite confident going into this campaign because they’ll have had a chance to look at the league last year and have recruited well over the summer, so people who underestimate teams like Shrewsbury will do so at their peril.”

"In general most teams who are doing well have good players. I certainly think they’ve worked really hard on their shape and they’ve got a good squad. The couple of loans they’ve brought in are strong loans, and other lads have had time to gel too so I don’t think it’s any type of fluke for me that they’re doing so well. They’re a very good side.”

Shrewsbury


The Shrews have started the season well with four wins from five and two from two at home.  Having finished 20th and 18th in this division in the last two seasons this will feel like nose bleed territory to fans of the Shropshire side and if I'm honest I don't expect to see them around the top of the table come May, but being full of confidence as they are now they will be a tough opponent this afternoon.  We won't be completely dominant in every game and just like the Portsmouth game was one of those occasions when we should have won comfortably but drew, there will be some games when we fail to turn up and are lucky to get a point.  A win away at one of the early pace setters will certainly put other sides on alert of our abilities this season and as I mentioned earlier, it will keep the momentum going and  that is a massive thing in sport.

 

SHREWSBURY - THE STORY SO FAR 

League One

P 5
W 4
D 1
L 0
F 8
A 4
GD 4
Pts 13

Position 2nd

Last Game: v Gillingham (A) W 2-1.

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