Dave Edwards: Shrewsbury Town may have to take a step back to move forward

It has not been the start any Shrewsbury fan wanted to see and it is getting to a point now where Town must start to pick up points.

Dejected Shrewsbury Town players react after Luke Jephcott of Plymouth Argyle scored a goal to make it 0-3. (AMA)
Dejected Shrewsbury Town players react after Luke Jephcott of Plymouth Argyle scored a goal to make it 0-3. (AMA)

Unfortunately, it’s the same old problem that has been going on for decades. Apart from the odd season here and there, we don’t score goals.

On Saturday in particular, there were a few half-chances, but failing to hit the target – I saw a stat of seven shots on target in four games – that’s really poor and clearly where the issue lies.

It is hard as a defence to keep clean sheets when you don’t have a lead to hold on to or anything. It’s a lot easier to defend when you haven’t got to score goals, like Portsmouth found at Fratton Park last week.

But we’ve gone behind in every single game and the emphasis is then to come out. Those second two goals on Saturday cut through the team so easily and that’s from not having that platform.

That’ll be the main thing to work on, staying in games for longer and being more disciplined.

There were really interesting comments from Steve Cotterill on Saturday, about us being in transition and becoming more possession-based.

He feels we’d be going backwards in shutting up shop and playing on the counter. But there doesn’t seem to be much confidence in the side or momentum being built, maybe it is time – until he gets the transfers in – to revert for one or two games in a bid for damage limitation at the moment.

With the amount of crosses we got in on Saturday, you’d like to think someone the size of Cosgrove or Bloxham when playing centrally will get chances.

There will be a lot more thinking about how we get crosses in rather than just flinging it in, which I know from experience we did under Gary Peters with percentages – he said the more crosses we got in the more chance of scoring.

But I know Steve won’t work like that. It’s about good opportunities to get good crosses in.

I think getting another midfielder in is massive, even with Leshabela coming in, an all-round player who can see games out and gives us depth.

It seems crazy now looking back with players let go, Brad Walker and Sean Goss in particular, I understand the manager trying to take the team forward.

I know he brought Dave Davis back. But someone of the ilk of Goss, with his range of passing in a No.6 role in a more possession-based style, a deep-lying player with good ball retention qualities would be important.

As a player, when you’ve had a tough start or run without a win it’s not nice.

The longer you go without picking up that result it gets more and more difficult and confidence will be low.

I always found when you have momentum and are winning you look at every fixture and think ‘yes – we can win that’.

But all of a sudden when you’re losing, you’re thinking where is the next point coming from?

Shrewsbury should think they can pick up points from anyone in this league. But it can change and now that Gillingham game at home on Saturday will seem massive to players.

It’s about trying to remain calm and trust what you do on the training pitch, carry it on the field without getting too desperate, because when that starts performances can go within themselves a little bit, or you might play safe and not try things.

That’s where it’s really important to have the characters in the dressing room. The best footballers can play under pressure. Hopefully the mentality is for players who want to turn it around, rather than worried to make a mistake.

The big characters can do that in one or two ways. Either vocally around the changing room, that is definitely someone like Ethan Ebanks-Landell, he will demand that in training off players. It won’t be as happy at the moment, but no-one expects it to be.

The other way is to lead by example and I think Josh Vela does that terrifically well.

On a matchday when you need performances and it was always him last year who put in performance after performance for us.

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