Shrewsbury Town facing a fight for Josh Laurent
Shrewsbury Town are hopeful of seeing off Championship competition for in-demand midfielder Josh Laurent – as out-of-contract stars see deals expire today.
Laurent, 25, and defender Omar Beckles, 28, are Town’s highest profile players to be out of contract and were offered new deals by the club earlier this month.
Former Hartlepool and Wigan man Laurent has caught the eye in his two-year spell at Salop, with a number of impressive performances before the turn of the year, which led to January interest as clubs sought to take advantage of his contract situation.
But the midfielder remained put at Montgomery Waters Meadow, despite reported interest from the likes of Stoke, Reading, Cardiff and Middlesbrough, some of whom are likely to be keen on his services again this summer with clubs across the board feeling the pinch of the coronavirus.
Town boss Sam Ricketts confirmed interest from the division above and said Laurent’s development is kudos to the club.
“Josh is someone we’d love to stay, he had a very good season last year and because of that form and the way he’s developed with the club, he’s attracting interest from the Championship,” said Ricketts. “On one hand that is a compliment to everyone in the club about how he’s been developed, but obviously we’d love him to stay at the same time.”
Fellow Londoner Beckles, who has spent three years at Shrewsbury and made 32 appearances last season, is another whose future remains up in the air.
“Omar is first and foremost a great person and great character and you want those people around the squad,” Ricketts added on stopper Beckles. “He has huge versatility in his game and can play anywhere across the back four, although he does prefer centre-back.
“I think he’s very good when he goes out to left-back, where he probably had his most consistent spell of games before my time.
“That versatility can be very important and his personality is very good. He’s very good within the dressing room and they are the characters we want in there.”
Meanwhile, League One clubs are set to meet with the EFL board on Thursday to discuss how the 2020/21 season will begin.
Town chief executive Brian Caldwell will be present in the conference call. He told the Shropshire Star that Town are aiming towards a possible restart on September 12, which follows an international break.
League chiefs are likely to meet tomorrow before the meeting with third tier representatives the following day. They are expected to meet with League Two clubs today.