Shrewsbury v Bradford preview: Ollie Norburn cherishes Town FA Cup memories
Skipper Ollie Norburn holds Shrewsbury Town FA Cup memories close to his heart.
He led Town out in front of nearly 30,000 spectators, including more than 3,000 travelling fans, at a packed Molineux in last season’s fourth-round replay.
But it was a big occasion for more than one reason for the midfielder, as he was also made Shrewsbury captain by Sam Ricketts for the first time, writes Lewis Cox.
After missing out on the dramatic third-round replay at Stoke through a harsh suspension, the big night was not lost on 27-year-old Norburn.
“The Cup is brilliant. Wolves and Stoke are the type of games you want to play in,” said Town’s now-regular captain, who is expected to lead the side out against Bradford City in tomorrow’s first round.
“It’s massive for the club and us players, you get an opportunity to test yourselves.
“The first time the gaffer gave me the armband was at Molineux. It was a nice feeling and I haven’t looked back since.
“Hopefully we can create more memories.
“The Wolves game was a highlight from a personal point of view, being captain for the first time was something I was proud of.
“We proved we could go toe-to-toe with better teams.”
The Shrews skipper picked out Wolves duo Joao Moutinho and Adama Traore as the toughest opponents in the thrilling run.
Norburn has, when available, worn the armband since, including his 10 appearances so far this term.
The former Leicester youngster believes he has made a difference with the extra responsibility captaincy brings. “It’s helped me raise the bar in terms of setting standards,” Norburn added.
“I feel I’m the leader so I lead by example. For me it’s massive to do that on the pitch by wanting to win. The gaffer maybe saw I needed the added responsibility and I thrive off it.”
Norburn’s preparations for the current campaign were halted by a knee injury picked up during pre-season training in Portugal.
He didn’t return until mid-September but has put together a run of appearances in Town’s midfield.
There was speculation over whether the ex-Macclesfield and Tranmere man would even be a Shrewsbury player this season.
Town fought off strong Peterborough interest in his signature, with the manager – who rates Norburn so highly – instrumental in keeping him.
Norburn repaid that with a fine display in the impressive victory against Posh in midweek, but the opposition had no bearing on his performance.
“There was a lot of speculation and rumours, blah blah blah,” he added. “But I signed a new contract and have been given the captaincy.
“I’m happy here and settled and want to do the best I can for this club and push us up.
“It’s good other clubs see something in you but I was more than happy with the new deal.”
Town boss Ricketts is likely to field a strong side against the in-form Bantams, albeit he could make a couple of changes to give game time to those uninvolved in recent games.
Young goalkeeper Cameron Gregory, 19, has been recalled from his loan at National League North Kidderminster Harriers.
He is expected to be on the bench tomorrow. Scan results on Max O’Leary’s injured ankle have revealed ‘nothing too major’.
Shrewsbury Town (3-4-3): Murphy; Ebanks-Landell, Pierre, Beckles; Love, Norburn (c), Goss, Giles; Whalley, Cummings, Okenabirhie.
Subs: Gregory (gk), Golbourne, Williams, Thompson, Walker, Laurent, Edwards