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Lessons learned from Shrewsbury Town's derby draw

Shrewsbury Town fans watched their side in action for the first time since late April in Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw at AFC Telford United.

Nate Blissett of AFC Telford United and Taylor Moore of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)
Nate Blissett of AFC Telford United and Taylor Moore of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)

Steve Cotterill’s men enjoyed a useful run-out at their National League North neighbours, who contested their third match of pre-season.

We take a look at a few talking points from the Shropshire derby.

Set-piece prowess

Town looked a threat from corners and free-kicks – as they should.

They have excellent delivery from Luke Leahy and Elliott Bennett, who missed the game, and in Matthew Pennington, Chey Dunkley, Tom Flanagan, Dan Udoh and Ryan Bowman have dominant figures keen to attack the ball.

It was not an area taken advantage of to the maximum last term. But on Tuesday against a sizeable Telford side Town threatened through Pennington and Flanagan. That bodes well moving forward.

Fitness

Aiden O’Brien and Bennett were missing from Town’s squad of 19 at the New Bucks Head.

No specifics were given on their absence from action, though both made the trip to Telford to watch their team-mates.

It is likely both were missing through fitness reasons, with Town hoping neither are anything more than precautionary or niggles. There was suggestion Bennett had sat out a session in Spain and his lay-off was an extension of that.

Moore

It was interesting to see Bristol City loanee Taylor Moore play in a defensive midfield role. Moore arrives from Ashton Gate with a reputation of being able to play a number of roles.

He showed that on Tuesday and looked comfortable enough in the role. He was tidy on the ball and keen to get forward. Whether that is a long-term role it remains to be seen.

The squad looks light of a natural defensive midfielder, of the ilk of a David Davis, so that could be an area Cotterill is keen to strengthen.

Captain

Daniel Udoh was, maybe surprisingly, given the armband as he returned to his former club.

In all likelihood this probably means very little. We don’t know who Town’s captain for 2022/23 will be yet – and the likelihood is we won’t know until Morecambe away on June 30.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell, the former captain, was released and there are no shortage of candidates for the next skipper. Cotterill mixed up his captains last pre-season, but it’s very much one to keep an eye on.

Telford competing

The Bucks impressed against a good standard of opposition. Home fans watching the game will no doubt have been encouraged as Telford pushed to attack their League One visitors to try to find a winner.

This time last year Town beat the Bucks 3-2 and were reasonably comfortable, on this occasion Paul Carden’s side proved more than capable competitors.

Telford looked reasonably strong against step five opposition in Whitchurch Alport but this, obviously, was a significant step up in quality and the National League North side encouraging signs of belief they could attack Shrewsbury and good physicality.

They face a similarly stern test against league opposition in the shape of League Two Walsall on Saturday.

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