Why Shrewsbury's recruitment drive is making Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley sit up and take notice
Danny Cowley has admitted Shrewsbury’s aggressive summer recruitment drive has made him sit up and take notice.
And he stressed Steve Cotterill’s side will have his utmost respect when they travel to Fratton Park tonight in League One.
Like Pompey, the Shrews have had a busy transfer window to date, signing seven players.
That’s currently five less than the Blues – but it’s the quality of player which Cotterill has lured to Greenhous Meadow which stands out for Cowley.
Prolific former Aberdeen marksman Sam Cosgrove is their latest new addition, with the striker arriving on a season-long loan from Birmingham.
Ex-Premier League player Elliott Bennett has also joined from Blackburn – as has Matthew Pennington from Everton.
Meanwhile, keeper Marko Marosi (Coventry), defender Luke Leahy (Bristol Rovers) and striker Ryan Bowman (Exeter) will also be names familiar to Blues fans.
Shrewsbury’s start to the 2021-22 League One campaign – two defeats – doesn’t reflect the investment in their squad this summer, with three of their seven signings joining for fees.
But looking beyond that, Cowley knows the Shrews have played their part in making this year’s third tier the most competitive in a decade.
And he’s wary of the threat they will pose as Pompey look to maintain their 100-per-cent winning start in the division.
Speaking to The News, Cowley said: ‘We have a lot of respect for Steve (Cotterill), a lot of respect for Shrewsbury.
‘I mean, Shrewsbury as a club have recruited really aggressively this summer, signed some really top League One players, and we know it's going to be a really tough game.
‘We’re under no illusions that we'll need to be at our absolute best.’
When asked if their summer recruitment had taken him by surprise, Cowley responded: ‘I think it has.
‘When you see the players that they've signed, you kind of always have an understanding of people's finances from the players that they're able to sign – and they've made some really good signings.
‘They're certainly a lot stronger squad today than they would have been this time a year ago.
‘So we know it's going to be a really tough game.
‘They've probably had a frustrating start to the season.
‘We watched their game at home to Burton and we watched their game Saturday at Morecambe.
‘Two games that they narrowly lost, they could easily have won both and they could be sitting here with six points at the moment.’