Key player: Sean Whalley
Following the departure of Harry Chapman who returned to parent club Blackburn at the end of his loan spell at the end of the season, veteran Sean Whalley will be the primary attacking threat on the Shrewsbury wing in their 3-5-2/ 4-3-3 formation. The veteran impressed last season, registering 15 goal contributions (8G, 7A) which no Shrews player bettered.
The former Luton man has proven to be a versatile asset to the club, playing on the wing, playing in behind the forward and as part of a forward two, as he did on many occasions last season when the club switched to a 3-5-2 formation on a permanent basis.
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Manager: Steve Cotterill
This campaign will be Cotterill’s first full campaign in charge of Shrewsbury. The 57-year-old took over the club sitting precariously in 23rd spot following the dismissal of Sam Ricketts in November. His initial appointment was very positive, picking up a trio of away wins against Hull, Lincoln and Doncaster.
His time at the club has been disrupted by COVID on two occasions, which saw him hospitalised. Despite this however he bravely returned both times to ensure that he kept Shrewsbury alive and kicking in League One. The Salop are Cotterill’s tenth side in management, having started out his managerial career with Sligo Rovers all the way back in 1995.
Captain: Ollie Norburn
A name familiar to many Plymouth Argyle fans, Ollie Norburn has done well to establish himself back in the Football League following his departure back in 2015 having made just 14 appearances in Devon. The now 28-year-old went on to play for Guiseley, Macclesfield and Tranmere before joining Shrewsbury back in 2018. Since then, the Grenada international has gone on to make 92 appearances for the Shropshire side, scoring 16 goals in the process from midfield.
Playing in a deeper midfield role, Norburn made 39 appearances in League One last season, registering four goals and registering a further assist. In an engine room that appears to be lacking sufficient bodies ahead of the new season, his form and availability could prove vital to their League One status.
Key transfer: Ryan Bowman
Shrewsbury were amongst the lowest scorers in League One last season, scoring just 50 goals as their defence effectively ensured that they weren’t dragged into a relegation battle. Salop manager Steve Cotterill has addressed this with the signing of forward Ryan Bowman from League Two side Exeter City.
The 29-year-old scored 32 goals over two-and-a-half seasons with the Grecians after joining from Scottish side Motherwell in 2019. Shrewsbury’s 3-5-2 formation should suit the former Torquay man as Exeter often played with two forwards for much of last season.
The Shrewsbury squad is probably thin at best heading into the new season, particularly in midfield with David Davis, Josh Vela and Ollie Norburn the obvious trio, but lacking any serious options to challenge them. Ryan Bowman looks an impressive signing on paper, but as a player who was very streaky for Exeter, it’s possible that he might struggle at a higher level where chances won’t be at a premium. Shrewsbury themselves often struggled to carve out chances so unless a progressive creative player is brought in before the transfer window closes, they are likely to struggle once more.
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