Half-season report card: Shrewsbury Town on right path but hunt a killer touch
Read Lewis Cox's half-season report on Shrewsbury Town here, as he highlights the top performer, where the side could do better, the boss's input, where to strengthen and gives an overall grade!
Top performer: Aaron Pierre
It is difficult to single out one when Shrewsbury, as a defensive unit, have been nothing short of superb.
Aaron Pierre has probably just about led the way. The defender came from Northampton with a big reputation and fair price tag but has justified the hype.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell has, quietly, almost been on par. It is easy to see his impressive pedigree.
Josh Laurent has been the pick of Town’s midfield and forward ranks.
Must do better: Jason Cummings and Fejiri Okenabirhie
Town, clearly, must improve in forward positions and could do with a little more from some of their attacking options.
Jason Cummings, who has struggled with fitness since arriving with a bang as the big signing, needs to build himself up to full speed so he can make the difference in front of goal.
Boss Sam Ricketts will have wanted more output in terms of goals from last season’s top scorer Fejiri Okenabirhie.
Manager: Sam Ricketts
Ricketts has won credit from onlookers for taking Shrewsbury on to the cusp of the top half and still in touch of the play-offs by the turn of the year as well as another FA Cup third round place.
Town have won eight, drawn eight and lost just six in the first half of the League One campaign, a record not to be sniffed at and certainly one Town fans would have taken if offered last summer.
But a section of supporters would argue they want more entertainment and attacking intent from Salop.
With emphasis on being solid, just 21 goals in 22 league games highlights that the division’s second-lowest scorers can do much better in front of goal and the manager must find ways of solving that.
Where to strengthen: Midfield
Town may be keen to add another midfielder given that three have already checked out this month.
Ricketts may fancy looking for a midfielder with the eye for a goal, while he is also looking at forward reinforcements to help the goals flow.
Finally, there could be business to do in goal if Bristol City recall Max O’Leary.
There can be no denying the progress Shrewsbury have made so far this term in what is an, admittedly, distinctly average League One season.
But, given how strong Ricketts’ men are defensively, there is a feeling that Town should be able to take advantage and have a good go at being outsiders for a top six place.
Should Ricketts find the formula that allows Town more freedom to express themselves in the final third then their end of term report could be pushing an A+.