Joe Riley: Shrewsbury Town have a ruthless streak
Joe Riley believes Shrewsbury Town’s ruthless streak means they are a different proposition this season.
Paul Hurst’s men have been sharing the goals around this term on their way to top spot in League One.
While top scorer Stefan Payne, with eight goals, is just two from Louis Dodds’ record from last season, others have stepped up in front of goal.
His strike partner Carlton Morris is hot on the heels with six, wingers Shaun Whalley and Alex Rodman – with four – have both eclipsed their tally from last term, while Jon Nolan has bettered his Chesterfield haul.
“It’s confidence,” said full-back Riley. “Rodders and Shaun have got four each, more than what they got the whole of last year.
“It’s great when you’ve got wingers, midfielders and even defenders chipping in with goals. It’s what you want.
“You look at the most successful sides and goals are shared all around the pitch.
“I remember last year, we’d have our spell in games but we wouldn’t put teams to the sword.
“This year, when we are on top in games and on the counter-attack, we’re punishing teams, which is a relief for us at the back.”
Riley is pushing for more game time under Hurst after returning from a long summer injury lay-off. The ex-Bolton Wanderers man is competing with James Bolton for the right-back berth.
But he has also emerged as a capable option at left-back, given the long-term injury absence of Junior Brown.
Riley has spent time out of the first XI, but knows positivity around the camp is crucial for the greater good. The 26-year-old added: “I’m not the type of lad to sulk. Trust me, no-one wants to be in the stand, the gaffer knows that as well.
“But I’m not the type of lad to sulk and not want the team to do well. It reflects bad on everyone when the team’s losing, not just myself.
“So I’ll come in and be supportive, like I think he wants everyone to be.”
Craig MacGillivray and Bryn Morris are two of Riley’s team-mates looking to push themselves into Hurst’s first-team thoughts. And Riley praised the way the duo carry themselves.
“Craig’s brilliant,” added Riley. “He’s a top professional.
“I don’t think in my career I’ve come across two better professionals and more dedicated than those two.
“Craig’s done great whenever he’s been called in. We see him coming for crosses against Aldershot, it’s all about his concentration – he was brilliant.
“Bryn’s such a top professional. You can see how fit he is, he takes care of himself. Even when he was coming back from injury he was still one of the fittest players in the club, hats off to him.”