Charlton preview: Shaun Whalley proud to lead by example at Shrewsbury Town
Few would have predicted Shaun Whalley would become a Shrewsbury Town mainstay when Micky Mellon brought him from Luton three years ago.
But the winger has entered his fourth season in blue and amber and a place in tomorrow’s team at Charlton will be his 102nd league outing for the club, one more than he has managed anywhere else.
There is very much a feeling that Whalley is extremely settled with Town and, at the age of 31, making up for lost time.
Now he is happy to be John Askey’s go-to man. He doesn’t have the captain’s armband, but he relishes leading by example.
And it sums up his kind nature that Whalley thanked me for noting last week’s authoritative display.
“I appreciate that comment because I am one of the loudest off the pitch but not in an authoritative way,” Whalley said.
“I don’t really tell people what to do.
“But on the pitch I try and lead by example, like you said. I just want the ball all the time, I want to get the lads on the ball. I generally want us to do well.”
Askey completed four new Town signings this week, all of which have a good chance of making their Salop bow at The Valley – the scene of one of Town’s greatest triumphs last season in the play-off semi-final.
That takes the number of new faces to 15 in a remarkable turnover in the boss’s first summer.
Just Mat Sadler, Omar Beckles and James Bolton join Whalley from last season’s regular XI. At that ratio Whalley is positively part of the furniture.
And Town’s No.7 is happy to be a friendly and helpful face to Town’s new-boys.
“They can always come up to me and ask me,” he continued. “I like to think I’m an approachable person and a bubbly person.
“I’m sure they can get that off me already. I don’t go out my way to tell people what to do.
“But they know I’m always there if they want to ask me something about the football club.”
Whalley’s 12 goals and 15 assists from the wings in 58 outings last season was surely a career highlight, but he reckons his mind and body are sharper still this season.
His man of the match performance in last week’s curtain-raiser against Bradford would confirm that.
Like Shrews, Charlton – who have made just two signings in a summer of struggle – lost their opening game courtesy of an added time goal at Sunderland.
And Whalley is wary of an Addicks backlash.
He said: “It’s going to be a tough game. They’re going to be right up for it because we beat them in the play-offs.
“Although a lot of the lads who played have gone, I’m sure a lot of Charlton lads are there.
“It was a good place to play. The league game was better but then Nolo’s goal was unbelievable. What a way to win a game of football.
“It’s got good memories but we’ve also been stuffed 3-0 - I was on the bench and came on - so some not so good memories.
“I watched the first half of Charlton v Sunderland and they looked very good. I couldn’t see them losing that game. I don’t know what went on in the second half.”
Pint and a pint
The Antigallican is a handy option opposite Charlton train station and near The Valley. It is popular on matchdays. Pies are pricey at the stadium at £4.
The boss says
"I know people were worried about certain players leaving but they are still here. We’re still on schedule. I think it’s positive."
Caught the eye in his cameo last weekend. Would think he has worked his way into boss Askey’s starting thoughts for tomorrow.
Shrewsbury Town (4-3-3): Coleman; Bolton, Waterfall, Sadler, Beckles; Loft, Laurent, Norburn; Whalley, Amadi-Holloway, Gilliead.
Subs: Arnold (gk), Kennedy, Barnett, Grant, Colkett, Angol, Docherty.
Charlton Athletic (3-5-2): Phillips; Solly, Bauer, Sarr; Marshall, Pratley, Lapslie, Aribo, Page; Grant, Taylor.
Subs: Maynard-Brewer, Maloney, Ajose, Hackett-Fairchild, Cummings, Kennedy.