Marcus Braddock looks back and forward at all things to do with Shrewsbury Town
Have you caught your breath from last week yet? Players coming and going from a squad that looked to be settling down with a week to go until the start of the season. Then we had one of those key moments that seemed to change everything and it all looked a little chaotic. Everyone was expecting Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan to move to Ipswich after the previous weeks shenanigans. However, the offer for Stefan Payne was a bit of a surprise, possibly because we were all focussed on the search for replacements in other areas. It was an up front, honest sort of offer by the sound of things which is refreshing. I have no complaints about players moving on to better their short playing career and wish all thee well. They were all important to last seasons campaign and I'm more than a little grateful for their outstanding efforts. The same goes for Bryn Morris who's gone on loan to Wycombe until January, with so many midfield players, one or two were always likely be loaned out. Hopefully Bryn can get some first team football before coming back and forcing his way into the team.
Our first move to fill the vacancies was to bring Lincoln captain Luke Waterfall in for an undisclosed fee. At 28 years old, Waterfall is at peak age for a central defender and the ex-Barnsley trainee slotted straight in to the centre of defence on Saturday. The following day we signed highly rated Scottish midfielder Greg Docherty from Rangers. The Gers picked him up from Hamilton where he grew up and started his career(94 appearances, 6 goals). Again, he went right into the side to face Charlton.
After another day, another midfielder appeared, this time Ollie Norburn from Tranmere. Norburn spent last season helping Micky Mellon seal promotion to the football league. John Askey knows the 25 year old from a loan spell spent at Macclesfield (2016/17, five goals from 24 starts) so hopefully that will short-cut the settling in process a little.
With Stefan Payne moving on to pastures new we needed a striker and John Askey moved quickly to secure the services of Lee Angol from Mansfield. The 24 year old ex-Tottenham trainee has been quite prolific since moving to Peterborough in 2015. In his first season he scored 11 from 38 appearances but a broken ankle seemed to put paid to his Posh career and he was loaned out to Lincoln when he recovered. He scored six times in 13 appearances for the Imps before a move to Mansfield in May last year which saw a further 10 goals from 34 games.
On Thursday, the youth team beat Port vale 4-2 in a game where they dominated for long periods. Town scored twice in the first fifteen minutes, Lewis Redding turned in a saved free kick confidently. Lifumpa Mwandwe doubled the advantage after two or three minutes and Luke Ward completed the scoring with a brace of headed goals. This week they have an away game against Tranmere on Saturday after a 9 day break since the Port Vale game.
The first team travelled to Charlton on Saturday and lost after a last minute winner for the Addicks, I'm sure their fans enjoyed a bit of vengeance for last season but not as much as I enjoyed our games with them last season. It was good to see Lenell John Lewis open his account with a lovely glancing header from Fejiri Okenabirhie's excellently placed cross. On another day we could have scored three but so could Charlton in what proved quite an open game. I saw plenty to be encouraged about dispute the defeat. Ryan Haynes performance on the left in particular, he's certainly made a good claim to be first choice in the position for the next game at least. Greg Docherty looks a decent acquisition too and he wont come much closer to scoring without the net actually bulging. Going forward we look quick and adept and I have a feeling we may score more than we did last season and once the team has “gelled” I can see us making life difficult for opposing teams.
The coming week has two home games with Burton visiting the Montgomery Waters Meadow on Tuesday night in the Caribo Cup. The Brewers were relegated from the Championship last season and haven't started too well with defeats to Rochdale and Gillingham. They will be looking at us as beatable after our own 2 defeats but that's how I'm looking at them.
On Saturday Blackpool are the opposition at the Meadow, they've not started all that well either although they do have a point from their first game of the season away to Wycombe. Portsmouth won 2-1 at Bloomfield Road on Saturday and the Tangerines have to face free scoring Barnsley on Tuesday.
There are plenty of possibilities and scenarios that can play out between now and next Monday. We could have 3 points and a decent draw in the next round of the League Cup in a weeks time. There are other possibilities of course but I prefer to think about this one.