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Monday, 16 September 2013

The Inside Line: Shrewsbury Town (17/09/2013)

The old adage that the best thing to do after falling off a bike is to get straight back on certainly feels like it rings true in BS3 this week as Sean O’Driscoll and his young side quickly return to perform in front of their own fans at Ashton Gate and look to right the wrongs of Saturday’s 3-0 humbling.

This Tuesday sees City's rearranged match against Shrewsbury Town, and following Saturday’s heavy home defeat, many are labelling this ‘must-win’ and, perhaps more worryingly, saying our tough start to the season (having faced promotion contenders Bradford, Wolves and Peterborough at home thus far) is now over with us facing a 'small club like Shrewsbury', suggesting a win should be mandatory.  Funnily enough football doesn’t always work out like that, but wouldn't it be nice if it did on Tuesday?!

It's the first match between the two sides for 15 years and the Salopians haven't won at Ashton Gate since 1961, their only ever victory in BS3 to date.  Lewis Hancock spoke to 19 year-old trainee teacher Jason Griffiths to evaluate our latest opponents.

David Moyes transferred from City to Shrewsbury in 1987, are fans happy to see a former player do so well in the managerial world?
“As a smaller football club it’s not often we get noticed in the wider world of football. Occasionally we do however have some notable people associated with the club. David Moyes is one along with the likes of England number Joe Hart and all time football league high scorer Arthur Rowley. 

All Salopians wish him well in his career at Manchester United. We will never forget the day he returned to the Gay Meadow with his Everton side for an FA Cup 3rd round tie on the 4th January 2003. The side was packed with Premier League quality including a young Wayne Rooney, but our veteran striker Nigel Jemson clinched a 2-1 win with a 90th minute header.”

Another former City player currently on your books is Chris Weale, how has he performed for you since signing in 2012?
“A player of some quality. Our survival in the third tier last season happened thanks to a string of outstanding performances by the goalkeeper. In a season where goals were hard to come by, he secured us many of the points we need to stay in the division. He walked away with all of the end of season awards.”

With the match being rearranged, can we expect a slightly weakened Salop following despite the first meeting between the two since 1998?
“I think we can expect a considerable difference in the amount of away supporters due to the fixture being re-arranged. I know many people (myself included) who cannot now make the game because of it becoming a night fixture, my reason being an exile at university and relying on trains to get to fixtures.

I’d still like to say there would be a reasonable number of Salopians making the trip but it’s not going to be a large following by any stretch of the imagination. However I’ve spoken to a mate who is going and he’s been granted permission to bring our drum, so there will be a bit of noise from the away end!”

Are there any standout Shrews that City fans should look out for?
“This season young midfielder Aaron Wildig is showing some of the talent which had him on the books of Cardiff City as a youngster. Last season he was a bit player, playing in wide positions. This term he has featured as the key man in his favoured central midfield role. The other key player to watch is young, pacey winger Jon Taylor.”

Last season you finished seven points above the drop zone (16th place) in your first season back in League One. Would you settle for that again or is a higher finish a realistic target?
“Last year’s campaign was our first in the third tier for 15 years where survival was the target. Following the loss of many of our key promotion squad we were all happy with the final position. This season we were hoping to be heading towards the middle of the table and perhaps into the top half. However following a very poor performance in the transfer market, optimistic town fans are hard to come by. We have started reasonably well but are in desperate need of a few key players. An experienced goal scorer is a must. The lack of money spent (none) has a role to play in the low attendances.”

How does Graham Turner set his side up to play?
“Graham Turner is a traditional, old fashioned manager. Anything apart from 4-4-2 and it’s a surprise. Often stubborn to change personal, tactics and style of play. More recently due to our injury problems and lack of players he has decided to play young winger Jon Taylor just off of the striker which has worked well against Swindon and Rotherham.”

Turner let joint-top scorers Marvin Morgan and Matt Richards leave Town in the off-season; has he brought anyone in capable of replacing their goals?
“As I said earlier the striker situation at the club is one of grave concern. We were all hoping for a big name or somebody who is known to score goals; this has not happened. The opinion amongst most of us is that the club is unwilling to spend the money on wages. Cody McDonald was training with us and went elsewhere. We have also been linked with Theo Robinson and prolific Cliftonville striker Liam Boyce.

Tom Bradshaw our young Welsh forward burst onto the scene with two fabulous goals against Crewe as a teenager around 3 years ago. Let’s just say he hasn't done a lot since although this season he is looking more promising as he is getting more game time. We signed former Celtic and Stoke youth striker John Marsden during the off season. Unfortunately he got injured in our second game of the season and will be out for a couple of months with a broken foot. We’re hopeful midfielders Taylor, Wildig and Parry will chip in with goals, along with Villa loanee striker Graham Burke.”

So far you've drawn four out of six in the league, have they been fair results or do you feel you've dropped points?
“It’s hard to say really. We could have quite easily won all four of those games but then in the cases on Crawley and Coventry we could have lost them as well. I’d of liked to see us win a couple of those games, Rotherham away in particular was one where we should have returned with the victory. Six games in though and with only one league defeat I’m more than happy with that!”

Finally, can I please get a prediction for the match?
“A tough game for us; all of them are at this level. Personally I would take a point. Travelling to a larger club such as City we know it’s going to be difficult. I hear that things aren’t going to well for you however we never seem to get the wins away from home we deserve. A win would be amazing but I'd be delighted to travel back to Shropshire with a point; the way the season has started it’ll probably end up that way. Let’s say 1-1 with Tom Bradshaw scoring for us.”

The Exiled Robin

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