Shrewsbury Town FC

Key player: Jason Cummings

Cummings is a name familiar to Argyle fans for his part played in the 5-1 drubbing against Peterborough when he and partner Matt Godden set the tone for a dismal season at Home Park. Cummings at the time was a highly-rated loanee from Nottingham Forest and after an unsuccessful spell at Luton Town he made Shrewsbury Town his new home. Although the forward hasn’t quite set the world alight for Salop his reputation as a goal scorer at Hibernian suggests he will have an important part to play in a team that lacks creativity. Shrewsbury will be reliant on Cummings and his finishing to keep them afloat this year.

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Manager: Sam Ricketts

Ricketts arrived at Shrewsbury from rivals Wrexham in December 2018, with former his side 4th in the National League and looking like strong promotion candidates. The former Wales defender looked to try and replicate what he had done at Wrexham at the New Meadow by operating with his previously successful 3-5-2. Although this has provided stability for the Shropshire based team it has not set the world alight. His team were easy on the eye in Wrexham but that hasn’t been the case here, and it appears that Shrewsbury have opted to start the season with back-four, similar to that of which they ended the season with. 

Defensive rock: Aaron Pierre

Aaron Pierre was one of the recruits made during Ricketts’ first full summer at the helm in Shropshire. He joined up with the Shrews in the summer of 2019 after he departed relegated Northampton Town. Pierre won the Player of the Year award during his time as a Cobbler, but his best form as a player came at his previous club, Wycombe Wanderers.

You may be “wandering” (editor’s note: awful pun) what happened at Adams Park. I’m hilarious I know. A three-year spell under the helm of Gareth Ainsworth saw the beast of a defender assert himself as one of the best centre-backs in League 2. Pierre is likely to be one of the standout performers for Shrewsbury this year as the side rely on defence ahead of attack to avoid the drop, as well as posing a goal-threat from set pieces. 

Last season: 15th in League One

The points per game table saw Shrewsbury finish in 15th place. Although they finished comfortably clear of relegation there was little to be excited about in Shropshire. They had an exciting cup run with an inspiring comeback against Liverpool being a particular highlight but, bar this, there was little to cheer about if you were on the terraces of the New Meadow. Some would argue that Shrewsbury are in somewhat of a transition period but from a neutral perspective you cannot see this transition successfully finishing anytime soon. Maybe it’s a transition to League Two actually. 

Key departure: Josh Laurent

In terms of transfer business, there’s not a lot to be exited about; therefore our focus will turn to the departure of midfielder Josh Laurent. Laurent was one of the key sources of drive and creative in a somewhat poor Shrewsbury side, though the midfielder only notched 2 goals and 2 assists last year. His years prior to that were certainly more productive.

Laurent leaned more towards the creative side as a midfielder and this is set to be greatly missed for Salop, as they have seemingly been unsuccessful in replacing the void left by the midfielder. 

Target: Avoid relegation

You would be forgiven for thinking I am not particularly positive about Shrewsbury Town’s upcoming season, however we must realise that it is not unusual for a team of good organisation and efficiency to surprise. However, despite this it is hard to see where the goals will be created from. Cummings is certainly a handy option up front but at the end of the day he cannot do it on his own.

The side look a bit more creative now with the change in formation, but when they inevitably ship a pile of goals early on they’ll probably switch back to a more defensive formation. My prediction is that, if Shrewsbury are going to find any type of success this season, it will be in the form of solidity and winning games by small score-lines.

Opposition view:

(provided by Shrewsbury Town fanzine Blue & Amber Fanzine)

Our prospects look much the same as last year. A mid table battle and hopefully keep our noses out of trouble. Ricketts has changed us over the summer from a 5 at the back stodgy dull team to a style many are now calling Ricka-taka! 4 at the back more possession and more attacking and goals. Will leave us more exposed but might be more exciting to watch evidenced by our first game ending 4-3. Kept most of the squad together and added well, with more to come in, so expect us to finish somewhere between 17th and 13th.


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League One Season Preview 2020/21