Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the weekend's trip to The Valley
This weekend sees Shrewsbury Town travel to South London to take on Lee Bowyer’s Charlton Athletic. During pre-season Charlton haven't made rafts of changes to the team that pushed us all the way in the play-offs last season. Notable additions are Darren Pratley, a 33 year old defender from Bolton and 28 year old forward Lyle Taylor from AFC Wimbledon.
Charlton's first game of the season was a tough test away to Sunderland and new signing Taylor took the lead in the tenth minute via a penalty. Sadly for Charlton fans they were pegged back by the League One new boys and heartbreakingly beaten in the 96th minute.
Lyle Taylor 1
The problem with doing a preview at this point of the season is that there are no real statistics to use because there has only been one game so far. Even the stats from that one game are pretty typical with the possession figures around 60 to 40 in favour of the home team. Based on that one game at Sunderland, the Addicks shots on target rate was quite impressive with five out of nine shots finding their target. Statistics for the game were pretty close which show how hard Charlton pushed Sunderland.
Craig Hicks from Surrey has been in charge of one game so far, Between Southend and Doncaster. The game ended 2-3 to Doncaster and Mr Hicks used seven yellow cards and no red cards. Last season he mainly officiated in League 2 games and handed out six red and 124 yellow cards in 38 games.
Assistants - Andrew Williams and Paul Yates.
Fourth Official - Paul Kelly.
Town: After a week of frenetic transfer activity it seems like the entire squad has been changed since the end of the season. I'm an admirer of Stefan Payne and it's sad to see him go but we've replaced him with striker Lee Angol from Mansfield. Arriving from Rangers is Greg Docherty, a highly rated central midfielder who looks good on the ball if his YouTube footage is an indicator. Another midfield option arriving in the last few days is Ollie Norburn from Tranmere where he's been turning in great performances for ex-Town boss Micky Mellon. Earlier in the week John Askey bolstered his defensive options ahead of the inevitable departure of Toto Nsiala. He brought in 28 year old Luke Waterfall from Lincoln City, a player he has worked with during a brief spell with Macclesfield. All are available for selection this weekend.
Addicks: According to Villa Manager Steve Bruce, Charlton are set to sign Jed Steer on loan. Addicks captain Jason Pearce was injured in the game against Sunderland and will be missing for a few weeks with a medial ligament injury.
As ever, there are interesting elements to this game and the biggest for Charlton may be a little revenge for last seasons defeats. Another is that we have quite a changed squad with players still getting to know each other on the field and off. I can’t imagine that Lee Bowyer won’t try to take advantage of any indecisiveness that might cause. The loss of Charlton captain Jason Pearce is a big blow and again, John Askey will likely look to exploit that particular weakness. Our biggest strength at the moment is that nobody apart from John Askey knows what to expect from the Shrewsbury Town line up on Saturday afternoon. There aren't any established dangers to guard against, defensively we're a relatively unknown prospect so Charlton may have to adapt as the game goes on and so might we. I've no idea what to expect and I quite like that feeling and I'm looking forward to watching this team grow and succeed in the next few weeks.