While it would take quite a collapse to see Shrewsbury relegated, I’m sure I’m not alone in being unable to fully relax until we surpass the 50-point-mark.
All the signs suggest Town will get there sooner rather than later and achieve their second-highest finish at this level since the 1989/90 season.
That may also present an opportunity for Steve Cotterill to experiment.
While Shrewsbury are well-stocked in midfield, it’d be interesting – and entertaining – to see Nathanael Ogbeta further forward more often.
He’s made it clear he wants to play there and has experience in the position from his time at Manchester City.
And, despite the brilliant Plymouth result, goals have been hard to come by for Town.
Ogbeta has demonstrated his creativity with two goals and two assists already, as well as that excellent free-kick against Hull City.
We have seen how devastating his runs from deep cutting inside can be, as his almost-identical goals against Portsmouth and Plymouth showed.
With his pace and ability on the ball, he could offer something different to help unlock defences.
With Shrewsbury seemingly perennially in 17th place, it seems fair to say we’re not going up and we’re not going down. So what is left to get excited about over the next nine games?
For the squad, they are playing for their futures – either a new contract or a place in the manager’s plans for next season.
For me, there is also the small matter of family honour and a strong desire to finish above Saturday’s opponents Gillingham.
The Kent town is my place of birth, though Shrewsbury is my ‘home’ – having moved here when just four. My dad Peter, however, is a proud Gill.
We’ve had some fun sat together at matches between our two teams over the years. For me, a famous 7-0 victory at home back in 2008 and a 2-0 win away at Priestfield a couple of years ago stand out. I certainly don’t let him forget!
He’s had his own reasons to celebrate, too. Coming back from 2-0 down at half-time to beat us 3-2 on our own patch was one stand-out result. And they beat us at Wembley in the play-off final of 2009 of course, though we weren’t sat together for that one.
Covid means we won’t be there this time, but we’ll be watching on to see who has the bragging rights come 5pm.
So yes, the Hudson Family Derby will always matter to us. Floreat Salopia!
I was delighted to see Nathanael Ogbeta put in another superb performance again at the weekend.
The signing of Ogbeta really demonstrates the keen eye for a player Steve Cotterill and his team has. As fans, there is very little can possibly be known about a player signed from a Premier League youth team, and it’s difficult to get too excited when they first put pen-to-paper.
However, over the weeks I have become more and more impressed with the former Manchester City full-back in a Town shirt.
For his age he looks assured on the ball and his defensive positioning seems excellent. In the last few weeks he’s also shown he has a wicked shot on him too and has nabbed a couple of excellent goals.
If Nathanael can carry this form for the rest of the season and into next, then I think we could have a real gem on our hands.
He wouldn’t be the first that Cotterill has signed.
I think Harry Chapman, Matthew Pennington and David Davis have all been decent signings. You certainly couldn’t call any Steve’s players duds, with all of them making decent contributions to us effectively achieving safety.
I have every faith we are in the right hands going into the summer, and should also give the board confidence that any funds given to Cotterill will be spent correctly.