Shrewsbury v Wycombe preview: A fit and firing Greg is just what the Doc ordered
Greg Docherty insists he is feeling fitter than ever as he aims to finish his Shrewsbury Town loan on a high.
The on-loan Rangers youngster has been a bright light for Town in a difficult season.
Docherty is aiming for 50 appearances – he is on 41 with nine fixtures remaining – and is one goal away from his double-figure goal target.
It had been a long campaign and the 22-year-old has already played the most matches in a season in his fledgling career but stressed he is fighting fit and ready to boost Town for the run-in, beginning with tomorrow’s crunch home clash against Wycombe.
“Now I’m here it doesn’t feel like I’ve played 40 games, I still feel fresh and fit, coming out of games I feel I’m recovering well,” said the popular midfielder, who came on loan to test himself in the English game and impress Gers boss Steven Gerrard.
“I wouldn’t want to say I’m tired. There are nine games to go and it’s probably given myself a little lift, there are nine games to go and still so much to fight for.
“I’ve got personal targets as everyone does to hit before the end of the season.”
Town fans have wanted to see more of Docherty in Sam Ricketts’ starting line-up in recent weeks. The midfielder has been part of Ricketts’ rotation ploy and been on the bench in two of the last three games.
Ricketts will look to get fresh legs into his Salop XI tomorrow after the disappointing trips to Rochdale and Plymouth.
Ambitious Docherty reckons rotation could be something he has to get to grips with if he makes it at the top.
“Maybe it’s another thing that you learn to understand,” he added.
“If you look at the top clubs that do rotate and it’s part and parcel of football. It prepares you for the future if you want to play at the highest level.
“Of course everyone wants to play every minute of every game, it’s not possible all the time, but it’s up to us when we have the jersey to make sure it’s ours.”
He continued: “Particularly against AFC Wimbledon, we’d had such a good result against Doncaster but it just shows you as players we can’t get complacent and expect.
“Now we’re going into games and it could be anyone (playing). We’ve just got to think of the long-run and the end goal.
“Hopefully I’ll stay involved but you can’t dwell on it, you’ve got to put it aside. Hopefully you can come on and be a match-winner.”
Back-to-back defeats have seen Town tumble to 20th, just clear of the bottom four on goal difference.
Docherty stresses that Shrews players are switched on to the task at hand and aware what is at stake. He said: “Everybody is well aware and nobody wants relegation on their CV.
“We shouldn’t be in this position but that’s football, there’s a lot of teams in this league in the same situation as us and are maybe more used to fighting.
“We maybe haven’t been as used to it as other teams but we’ve got to realise we do, we’ve got to realise the situation and turn it around. It’s up to us to do that.”
Town, who are now winless in three, hope to have defender James Bolton (ankle) back in contention for the visit of out-of-sorts Wycombe who, in 13th, are just four points better off than their hosts.
Whenever Wycombe come to town, it resurfaces memories ‘that’ costly ghost goal in 2011 that eventually cost Shrewsbury automatic League Two promotion.
This time, however, the stakes are different and Town desperately need a home victory against the struggling Chairboys to kickstart a push to survival.
We caught up with NICHOLAS TUNNEY, Wanderers reporter for the Bucks Free Press, to get the lowdown on the visitors.
How would you assess Wycombe’s season after last season’s promotion?
Overall, if you offered Gareth Ainsworth 13th at this stage of the season, he would have bitten your hand off! They started slowly but really picked up around November time and were on the verge of the play-offs.
However, they came into this game with no win in eight games and just four points from the drop zone. They were poor on Tuesday against Accrington.
The form seems to have dipped dramatically after a super start to the season. What has happened?
The dip has coincided with the likes of Fred Onyedinma and Randell Williams leaving the club after successful loan spells. Onyedinma, in particular, was electric and was a standout player. Ainsworth was extremely keen to keep him but Millwall wouldn’t budge and that left the team with a huge hole to fill.
What is the feeling around the fans and club with the bottom of League One so tight?
I think some fans are starting to get worried but, importantly, Ainsworth remains confident they can stop the rot. They, in my opinion, have a favourable run in, and have the points on the board. Three more wins will do it for me and I believe they have more than enough to secure survival.
How should Shrewsbury expect Wycombe to come and set up at Montgomery Waters Meadow? What style will Gareth Ainsworth use?
I would imagine either a 4-4-2 diamond or a 4-3-3. It isn’t in Ainsworth’s style to park the bus so he will be going for the three points.
What are the main strengths and/or weaknesses for Wycombe this season?
They are very good on the counter and possess a lot of pace to open up teams. At home, they are very good and have a brilliant record against the top teams. They do concede too many sloppy goals. For example, they gifted Accrington two penalties the other night and you just can’t do that.
Shrewsbury Town (3-4-1-2):
Arnold; Williams, Waterfall, Beckles; Whalley, Edwards, Norburn (c), Haynes; Docherty; Okenabirhie, Campbell.
Subs: Sears, Sadler, Laurent, Grant, Amadi-Holloway, Payne, Charles-Cook (gk)