Shrewsbury Town blow as Leon Clarke sits out Posh trip

Shrewsbury Town head to high-flying Peterborough United tomorrow without injured striker Leon Clarke and with doubts over fellow forward Jason Cummings.

Leon Clarke of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)
Leon Clarke of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)

Clarke is ruled out of the London Road clash with a hamstring injury that saw him only come from the bench in Tuesday’s defeat at Fleetwood.

Cummings missed the midweek reserve through illness but, despite testing negative for Covid-19, he was unable to train yesterday and is doubtful to face his former loan club.

The injury updates come as a further blow for boss Sam Ricketts, who is looking to end a run of three straight defeats and admitted ‘it never rains but it pours’.

Ricketts said: “We’re missing a huge amount of players. When you start missing your main forward players it makes your task harder.

Shaun Whalley, another member of Town’s attacking ranks, has been missing for almost a month with a calf injury and is not yet ready to return.

Ricketts rates Cummings’ chances of facing his former side as ‘slim’ and should the Scot miss out through illness, Town are left with Ryan Barnett, Daniel Udoh and new recruit Marc Pugh to lead the line.

Goalkeeper Deyan Iliev has been sidelined for ‘a number of weeks’ with a muscle problem, the second loan goalkeeper to be sidelined this season.

Charlie Daniels will continue at left-back with Scott Golbourne set for a period on the sidelines with a rib injury.

There is better news for midfielder Dave Edwards, who is only a couple of weeks from a return.

Ricketts feels the relentless schedule is having an affect on the fitness of his players and says that players suffering from muscle injuries are, in the main, those who have been recruited and not able to build up injury prevention throughout pre-season.

The boss stresses it is a period of ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’ for Shrewsbury in terms of defeats and unavailable personnel.

He added: “I think it’s about understanding the process. If we were getting beat three or four nil and only having a handful of chances, I’d be more concerned.

“But it’s a team playing well and doing everything but scoring. We can’t keep creating so many goalscoring opportunities and not scoring.

“We’re in a situation where it’s short-term pain for long-term gain. We’ll get lots of injuries back which will be a big help.

“But until that point we have to make sure we get results. Defensively we’ve been OK, conceded a few sloppy goals that hurt us in the home games.

“Up front, we’ve done an awful lot to score more goals but we haven’t done so. Chances created have increased dramatically, expected goals (xG) is much higher. It doesn’t matter how it’s not going in. We need to put it in the net and ask questions later.”

Town slipped into the bottom four this week and, next Tuesday, host basement boys Burton Albion who also have six points.

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