The Insider: I’d expect Shrewsbury to avoid relegation ahead of Portsmouth clash

Joe Edwards, from the Shropshire Star, gives the lowdown on Shrewsbury’s season so far.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 4:37 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 4:41 pm
Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts. Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Quite a lot of fans have been really disappointed this season.

A lot of people knew last campaign’s heights weren’t going to be achieved again.

But, in the same breath, fans didn’t expect the complete opposite.

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Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts. Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

John Askey arrived as manager in the summer. At the time, it looked a strange appointment and I don’t necessarily think he did much wrong.

Askey’s face just never fit and the fans never took to him – you get that with some managers.

He was almost doomed for failure.

The backroom staff steadied the ship before Shrewsbury brought in Sam Ricketts.

He fit the mould the club were looking for; young, up and coming and ambitious – just like Paul Hurst.

There are quite a few fans who aren’t convinced Ricketts is the man for the long term but if he keeps them up you’ve got to give him the summer to try to mould the team in his vision.

The one thing you would say is he’s had the January transfer window and a lot of his signings have been good. 

Ro-Shaun Williams has added pace in defence after arriving from Manchester United – he is lightning quick.

Tyrese Campbell is a livewire up front, while Scott Golbourne has provided experience.

Shrewsbury have only lost two of their past eight games.

They’re not ultimately convincing but they are grinding out results.

If I had to put a bet on that they’re going to stay up then I’d say they will.

The run to the FA Cup fourth round was great for the fans.

They gave Wolves a really good run for their money at Molineux in the initial tie.

Shrewsbury have had a tendency to concede late goals, as they did in that 2-2 draw when Matt Doherty scored in the 90th minute to take it to a replay.

But the Shrews’ win over Wycombe last weekend is the first real time they’ve been on the other end of a stoppage-time winner.

Shrewsbury have got strength in depth, pretty much two players for every position.

Although they have defensive concerns for the game against Pompey, Ricketts says they have two players for every position and are not overly worried.

You look at the bench from the Wycombe win. Mat Sadler was last term’s Player of the Season, Greg Docherty has arguably been Player of the Season this campaign, Anthony Grant is an experienced League One midfielder, Fejiri Okenabirhie is top scorer and Stefan Payne scored goals last season. 

They’ve got the players but a lot of it has been throwing things together and seeing what sticks.

They haven’t had a set team or way of playing, especially earlier in the season.

But they’ve stumbled across a 3-5-2 system and I imagine Shrewsbury will stick with it.