Gaffer looks ahead to season openerThe season has finally arrived and Shrewsbury Town are readying themselves for the new League One campaign.
It’s been less than three months since Town finished last season, but after 7 weeks of hard preseason training the lads are putting together their final preparations ahead of the new season.
The first game couldn’t be tougher as newly relegated MK Dons head to the Greenhous Meadow, but Town boss Micky Mellon admits he can’t wait for the season to get underway.
“I’m pleased to be getting it going,” said Mellon.
“Anybody who knows me, knows I don’t like preseason games really. They’re necessary for getting the players to the stage that they’re at now, but I’m pleased we’re getting competitive fixtures now, where teams are prepared to play against each other for points, so it’s good and it’s what football’s all about.”
“I always like to start the first game at home, it’s nice to get that one under your belt, but it’s more important to get an early result under our belts and a good performance under our belts.”
“I’m not going to shy away from that or ask for time in order to do that, we want to do that as quickly as we can.”
MK Dons finished as runners-up in League One two seasons ago and although they were relegated last season, Micky thinks they will be a strong side this time around.
“You would imagine that MK (Dons) are going to be in that top bracket. They’re certainly going to be up there and you would think that all the teams that we’re going to play against, especially early games, would expect to be in that shake up at the top end of the league,” said Micky.
“So very early we will get an indication of where we’re at, at the beginning, against one of the fancied teams in the division.”
“They will try and play it down, but the ambition there will be to try and be at the top end. They will be expected to be there, everything about their club will expect to be there and we’ll get an early indication of where we’re at.”
MK Dons Manager Karl Robinson became the youngest manager in the Football League when he was appointed in May 2010 at the age of 29. Now the Football League’s 3rd longest serving manager, Micky believes he has built a strong team at Stadium MK.
“I’ve known Karl for many years now and we know the way that he likes his teams to play,” admitted The Gaffer.
“So you would have to say that if you were going to play against MK Dons you would know that you’re probably going to get a game of football that’s going to be passed through the thirds and a lot of movement and they will roll the dice a little bit against you, because they’re a very attacking side.”
“They’ve got good players, players who have had a season in The Championship, been together for a while now, and had a lot of seasons in League One, so you know that the challenge is there.”
“Our fans will obviously know, because they’re very knowledgeable, that that is the case. That we’re coming up against a team that has done that in recent years, so the challenge is there for us to try and overcome them and see where we’re at and a measurement against them.”
After surviving relegation last season, Micky is hoping to build on that this campaign, but he is taking things one step at a time.
“I think for Shrewsbury, in the last 20 odd years, it’s been a long time since they’ve done two consecutive seasons in League One. That’s something that we’ve got to try and change, it’s something that we’re working hard on as a minimum target, to try and make sure that Shrewsbury continue to build as a League One club,” Mellon said.
“That would be my minimum target. Football being the way it is you will take it at different stages and see where you are in the league and see if you can change that objective, but at the minute that will be the main objective for myself.”