Don’t expect big Shrewsbury Town changes in January
Sam Ricketts spoke this week about how Callum Lang will be ‘like a new signing’ when he returns from injury in the new year.
As we head deeper into the festive period, with a busy run of fixtures just around the corner, fans of football clubs up and down the country begin to cast an inquisitive eye towards the January transfer window.
Ricketts will have been planning for that month for a little while now.
Ever since the summer window shut on September 2, Ricketts and managers across the leagues will have been putting strategies in place for January, sounding out targets and drafting back-up options.
Ricketts has been vocal about the re-build job he has overseen at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
It is clear he has ambitions for the long haul. Firstly, improving Shrewsbury, as he has so far this season, before continuing to progress and push on.
The boss said earlier on his Town career that it can take up to three transfer windows to shape a squad exactly as you wish it. This will be his third.
So how influential will the January window be for Shrewsbury?
This time last year the finishing touches were being put on the long-awaited move to bring hometown hero Dave Edwards back to the club under a manager the midfielder knew so well.
It is unlikely an arrival of that magnitude will check in next month.
Ricketts will look to make improvements, but he made mammoth changes to the Town squad in the summer and it is in his interest for his ranks to bed in and settle as a group.
Lang’s return will be timely and his impact will be felt in a positive manner. He will, hopefully, spark life into the rest of Town’s strikeforce and help goals flow more freely.
An ambitious swoop to get somebody the calibre of an Edwards or Jason Cummings – who arrived alongside Lang on deadline day in September – is likely to be asking for too much.
Ricketts has remained extremely grateful for the backing chairman Roland Wycherley has given him so far. Thirteen new arrivals checked in over the summer and the boss spoke only last week how some 39 players have come and gone in his 12-month tenure.
It’s a drastic total that hammers home how much change was needed.
Anthony Grant is likely to be at least one to leave the club (or extend his loan away) in the new year.
Supporters eager for new faces in at the club would point to Town not scoring enough or a lack of cutting edge in the final third.
It is true that Shrewsbury have been another half-a-dozen or so goals away from really threatening the League One play-off places.
It is then up to Wycherley and the Town hierarchy to decide whether a telling, decisive signing, likely in an attacking position – possibly an offensive midfield role – would be worthwhile and affordable.
But Ricketts’ long-term ambitions mean there is no rush. He is slowly building and will view a season of stabilising, ahead of a bigger play-off charge next year, as success.