Shrewsbury Town boss Mike Jackson has challenged the club’s top-scorer Tom Bradshaw force his way back into the side.
Bradshaw has netted five times this season, with all his goals coming in the first two-and-a-half months of the campaign. But he has found himself on the bench in recent months and he was omitted from last Saturday’s match-day squad following an influx of new recruits.
Jackson spoke to Bradshaw before the 1-1 home draw against league leaders Brentford to explain his decision. And with increased competition for places, he said that it was up to every player to rise to the challenge and push for a place.
“I said to the players on the first day I came in, and I have re-iterated it since then, that if they play well 99.9 percent of the time they will keep the shirt, unless there is something where there is a certain formation which has to be changed,” said Jackson.
“And it is up to Tom now to knuckle down. I have worked with Tom for a long, long time, I know him inside out and he’s a great kid, but that is what he needs to do.”
Bolton Wanderers loanee Tom Eaves has been the preferred option to lead the attack since he arrived at the Greenhous Meadow in November.
And the signings of Celtic’s Bahrudin Atajic and Peterborough winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who can also play up front, imeans Town now have at least four options for the forward positions.
With Jackson set to resume his search for further recruits when they loan window reopens on Saturday, further options could yet be added to the mix.
Jackson concedes that both Atajic and Mendez-Laing need to top up their fitness levels to nail down a consistent place, having seen their first-team opportunities limited at their parent clubs.
Atajic had played just three times for Celtic this season – all as a second half substitute.
Mendez-Laing has played 20 times for Peterborough this season, his last start coming on November 23.