Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the weekend's Sky Bet League One action
This weekend Shrewsbury Town stay at home to welcome Bristol Rovers to the Montgomery Waters Meadow in Skybet League One. Rovers are in tenth place, one place ahead of us with 25 points from their 16 games so far this season. If you look at the home and away split, it appears that we're quite evenly matched with Rovers currently the tenth best away team in League One with nine points from seven games whilst we're the eleventh best home team in the division with 15 points from eight away games. Recent form has been pretty good for both teams with defeats relatively few and far between although three out of their last five results were against Bromley in the F.A. Cup twice and Swindon from League Two. League form for the Gas has been less impressive recently with a draw, two defeats and two wins although going further back, Rovers have also had a run of six unbeaten league games this season. Rovers like a clean sheet almost as much as we do with five recorded in League One although they've only kept one in away games in League One.
Top Scorers (cup goals in brackets)
Jonson Clarke-Harris 7 (2)
Tyler Smith 2(2)
Alex Rodman 2 (0)
Liam Sercombe 2
Billy Clarke 2
Ollie Clarke 2
Josh Hare 2
Luke Leahy 2
Graham Salisbury from Lancashire. Games this season: 14. Yellow cards: 49. Red cards: 1.
Sam Ricketts has paid tribute to Rover's hard work this season and talked about having a positive selection worry with two keepers and four centre-backs now available.
Graham Coughlan has been quite quiet about the game but assistant manager Joe Dunne talked about top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris's return to fitness after a recent injury. The highly rated forward will be available for selection but Dunne says that despite looking good, Clarke-Harris can’t be fully fit just yet.
As mentioned, Sam Ricketts has decisions to make about players but Sean Goss and Dan Udoh aren't quite ready yet and Romaine Vincelot will be out for a prolonged period after an operation.
Jonson Clarke-Harris is available and Rovers have no new injury worries.
This game has quite a bit going on around it with both teams being so close in the league and a well respected ex-Town defender at the helm for Rovers. Added to that are connections on both sides with ex-Shrews Alex Rodman and Abu Ogogo on Rovers side, a Bristol City loan goalkeeper amongst our ranks as well as Bristol Ian and ex-City player Scott Golbourne. I think this could be a very close game with two well-matched teams. The conditions may play their part with light rain forecast for the afternoon although hopefully it will have dried up a little by 3 o'clock. I'm hoping that our recent defensive solidity can reduce the impressive Jonson Clarke-Harris to shots from distance. However, he's an extremely difficult player to predict and with assists coming from all over the Rovers team, we could be in for an anxious afternoon.