Boss Hopes To Utilise Fresh Legs
Shrewsbury boss Micky Mellon believes that players returning from injury will help add some freshness to his side as they prepare to take on Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road on Monday.
Town were unfortunate to concede a late goal on Saturday in a weather effected match against Fleetwood Town and Micky feels that the point gained should be regarded as a positive.
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose a goal so late in the day when the finishing line was in site but the weather conditions have played a huge part in how the game was played,” said Micky.
“But on a difficult afternoon we’ve got to respect the point and move on.
“I think Fleetwood had a couple one v ones, I think we counted three. We were disappointed that we never took a couple of chances like the Jordan Clark one and the header by (Scott) Vernon in the middle of the six-yard box.
“There were bits for both teams in really dreadful weather conditions. We were worried with one of the stands and the roof lifting off it. That gives you a fair idea of how strong the wind was and how big a part it played.
“I always try and be fair on the performance but with the ‘keeper taking goal kicks and seeing the ball come back into his hands again gives you an indication of how difficult the conditions were.
Monday’s clash at Crewe is Town’s second game in three days and the manager is hopeful that some returning players might be able to add some freshness into his side.
“We’d like to do a lot of stuff much better but we may have the opportunity tomorrow with the personnel that’s become available again to maybe go and try something a wee bit different,” said Micky.
“They’ve (Zak Whitbread and Larnell Cole) trained this morning so that gives us the opportunity to maybe look at playing another way with maybe a bit of width. We’ll see how that pans out over the next 24 hours and see how their reaction is to training.
“We’ll try and make changes without being too tinker if you like but we’ll certainly look to try and put fresh legs in if we can to try and give us a good chance of winning the game.
“I try as much as I can to try and stay away from tinkering too much and playing too many people in positions that are not their strongest. The diamond formation just seems to suit that group of players.
“If the game was today Junior Brown wouldn’t play, so he’s struggling but we’ll go into the squad and give people the opportunity to go and perform.
“It’s a difficult time of the season. Games are thick and fast so you need to respect that the players need to recharge again and get going. So we’ll use that time after the Crewe game to try and do that.”
One player looking for that opportunity is Shaun Whalley, with the former Luton Town player being described by Micky as ‘unlucky’ when it comes to getting first-team opportunities, with the formation of the team being one reason behind his lack of selection.
“We’ve got Shaun Whalley who is doing very well but probably because we don’t somebody who can play on the other flank at the minute, unless we put a striker out there, he’s suffered a little bit,” revealed Micky.
“He’s been a wee bit unlucky because Kaikai and Cole have been thriving and doing what they’ve been doing so the opportunity never came there.
“We lose Cole and Kaikai at the same time and he’s the only winger we have and we’re struggling to find someone to play on the other side to balance the team up.
“But he’s kept his head down and he keeps training well and he’s certainly in my thinking for tomorrow.
“In this league you need pace. Anybody who has been successful in this league have pace and power at the top end of the pitch so we’re trying to find as much of that as we possibly can. But of course, everyone other club is looking and shopping in the same market.
“What we’re trying to do is get as much pace into the team as possible whether that be up front or in the wide areas. We’re working very hard to do that.”
With Crewe’s Boxing Day fixture at Rochdale falling foul to the weather on Saturday, Micky is expecting a tough game against a team he sees as an established League One club, something he hopes Shrewsbury Town can be.
“They’re an established League One team – that’s what we’re trying to do,” added Micky. “We’re trying to become that and keep building on that.
“They have a team full of players who are experienced at this level so we’ve got to respect that.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game but I’m sure that if we cut out the little mistakes, keep building on what we’re getting better at and the result will hopefully go our way.
“They’ve done great for a club of that size. They’ve a great tradition of bringing young players through. They’re continuing to do that and give them their chance and then let them go and get the opportunity to play in the first-team. They’ve done that for many years now.
And with over 500 away tickets sold and more possible to pay on the day, it promises to be a good atmosphere in Cheshire.
“The fans always create an atmosphere away from home and at home the crowd has been good,” added Micky.
“They always get right behind their team so it should make for a good atmosphere at a good time of the year for football.”