The weekly look back and forward from Marcus Braddock
The football season started on Saturday with a 1-0 home defeat to Bradford City. The result was a bit of a disappointment but given the circumstances it's understandable. As everyone knows by now Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala handed in transfer requests just days before the season opener and as a couple of our best performers from last season, they were very much at the heart of our plans. The timing sucks but I don’t begrudge players moving on after a good season and I can’t blame them for having their heads turned by a higher league club with a bit more cash. Toto was part of a defence that made me feel that we could hold pretty much anyone on our day. Jon Nolan is responsible for leaving me unable to celebrate the goal against Charlton. It was so good I couldn't quite believe it had happened, I just stood there with my hands on my head!
The game could have ended 2-2 as we had three excellent chances, one that hit the bar from Josh Laurent, another off the bar from Alex Gilliead and a goalbound shot from Omar Beckles that took a goal-line clearance from Anthony O'Connor. For much of the game we looked the better side but at times we looked a little tentative which isn't a surprise given the amount of new players we have. I think that will lesson as everyone gets more used to each other and their duties within the team.
The biggest news off the pitch was the opening of the safe standing area and it proved to be a very encouraging first game, with the vast majority of the home noise seemingly generated from the Salop Leisure stand. Bradford’s support was excellent as usual and it benefited their players in the same way the Safe Standing area did and will continue to.
On Thursday, midfielder Anthony Grant arrived from Peterborough for an undisclosed fee. He was a mainstay in the Posh team as they finished in 9th place last season. The former Chelsea trainee started his career replacing Joe Cole for Chelsea in a win over Manchester United and had a first team squad place but made only that one appearance. He's a tough tackling midfielder but he also offers something going forward and although not quite match fit on Thursday, he did make an appearance on Saturday and will be looking to feature every week.
Last week saw Mat Sadler selected as captain of the first team which I think is very well deserved He first played for us on loan from Watford in the 2010/11 season, and was ever present as we just missed promotion to League One. He joined us a second time from Rotherham in 2015, so he's been part of several good Shrewsbury teams under a few managers. I really can’t think of a player who deserves it more and he's a perfect fit for the job with plenty of experience and a calm head.
The youth team got their season underway last Friday with a 2-2 draw away at Carlisle United in the EFL Youth Alliance. Town took the lead in both halves, through Lifumpa Mwandwe and Lewis Redding, only to be pegged back each time. They face Port Vale at Sundorne Sports Centre this Thursday.
There is likely to be plenty going on at Montgomery Waters Meadow this week with players coming and going. How we line up next weekend against Charlton is currently a mystery which makes it kind of exciting but it would have been nice to have a settled side. John Askey can’t be blamed for that but he has to deal with it and how he does that will have a big influence on our season. So far he's signed some good players and there looks to be a couple on the way before the deadline, interesting times at Shrewsbury Town.