Marcus Braddock takes his weekly look at all things Shrewsbury Town
When you're in this position at this time of the season you have to look for positives and after a bit of time to think, I think there are a few after Saturdays home draw against 12th placed Burton. The first was the early goal from Tyrese Campbell and not just because it's his first goal for us. The way he took his goal was impressive, I've seen many young strikers through on goal with just the keeper to beat and it's not uncommon to see them fluffed at the last minute. Fortunately he had the presence of mind to finish the job and get off the mark, hopefully the first of many.
Sadly we the lead didn’t last long but we saw the rest of the game out without conceding further. I know we need to be winning our home games, it wasn't a bad performance considering we had to do without Greg Docherty who's scored eight for us this season and is sharing fourth place in the League one assist chart with six. We also had to do without our second best assist provider Josh Lauren. I don't think it's a terrible result when you realise that two of our best performing midfielders were unavailable and Fejiri Okenabirhie was taking a well earned rest on the bench.
Obviously his rest was a hot topic of conversation before the game but I thought the reasons for leaving him out were pretty sound, this is his first season after jumping two divisions and he's played a great deal of football recently. Sometimes you need to protect an asset, as frustrating as it might feel and when players don't rest enough, form drops, injuries can follow and we're in poorer shape.
Another positive is the return of Shaun Whalley to full fitness. If I had to describe him in one word it would be tenacity, which is one of my favourites when describing football players. He's not afraid to take players on, putting them under pressure and forcing mistakes. His pace and ability to beat players is something we need more than ever, as is the way the team looks hungrier when he's on song. The enforced absence of Docherty and Lauren may see them come back fresher to face Peterborough away this coming weekend too so that's another positive of sorts.
Posh have just ended a winless run of five league games by beating fellow struggler's Oxford 1-0 on Saturday. Ex-Town loan striker Ivan Toney got the winner, his thirteenth in Skybet League One. They haven't won at home since January 18th and have the worst home record in the top half of the division.
The youth team didn't play last week but they do have a local derby this weekend with Walsall visiting Sundorne Sports Village on Saturday morning. With recent weather seemingly improved and no home game for the first team, I may drop in on Saturday morning and see how they get on. It's always good to see the future of the club learning and gives a greater feeling of connection when they make it to the first team.
The big news for the youth team last week was the appointment of the experienced New York Red Bulls youth coach David Longwell. Looking back at his career it's been a varied and successful one and Longwell seems a signing that shows plenty of ambition.
The focus was very much upon the youth side of things as on Monday too as the EFL’s #RaisedInTheEFL week got underway. Sam Ricketts used the week to highlight the success stories of the Town academy this season with players like James Rowland and Ryan Sears making firm headway toward the professional game. Having seen improvements made to the youth set up over the last few years it's good to see it coming to fruition.