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Rekeil Pyke's loan switch was not Steve Cotterill's call

Steve Cotterill believes it was a mistake for Rekeil Pyke to spend last season on loan at Scunthorpe – and feels the versatile frontman looks much fitter this term.

Rekiel Pyke of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)
Rekiel Pyke of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)

Pyke, who turns 25 next month, was bought to the club by Sam Ricketts on a three-year deal in 2020.

He has struggled for regular action, with just six league starts in two seasons and two goals for the club in cup competitions, and spent the second half of last term on loan at the Iron, who were relegated from League Two.

Pyke, a striker or left-sided attacker at previous clubs, has been used at right wing-back by Cotterill. The Town boss handed the forward a start in Tuesday’s EFL Cup win over Carlisle but said a loan away from Montgomery Waters Meadow was not his choice and branded it ‘a waste of time’.

“That was his choice, his father’s choice and his agent’s choice,” Cotterill said. “It was not my choice.

“I don’t think he should have gone out on loan last season. I thought that was a waste of time. I think he would have got more games here than he got out on loan.

“But it was quite evident that he wanted to go out on loan and play games. Well, he would have played games here. I think he is far better here, I think he is far fitter. I think the summer programme that the lads have had that have been here has benefitted them no end. And he looks in good shape this year.”

Pyke gave a decent showing at wing-back in Tuesday’s progression to round two. He remains a senior option for Cotterill to turn to having appeared as a substitute in Town’s opening two league games.

The former Huddersfield, Rochdale and Wrexham man is in the final year of his contract at Shrewsbury. He made six starts out on loan at struggling Scunthorpe, who dropped out of the Football League.

Cotterill said: “You just have to be careful you don’t overload him. He played right wing-back in one game, he did really well and then went and did something and then all of a sudden he gets an injury.

“He is fitter and stronger this year and I am delighted for him because he is a lovely kid.

“But he made the wrong decision last year.”

Cotterill, meanwhile, provided an update on the absent new forward recruit Aiden O’Brien, who has been involved in just one cameo so far this term after fitness problems during pre-season.

The manager added: “The guy that he saw is the top top guy I think in the country and he has had a steroid injection, and the guy is pretty confident that it is going to clear up his issue.

“He has four days of it settling down. That is what we have got to do.

“I think he was a little bit sorer today than yesterday but I think that is what was expected.

“He is another one, fingers crossed with him and the quicker we get him back and Benno (Elliott Bennett), I think we will be a lot stronger.”

Wing-back Bennett is still recovering from ankle surgery while it remains to be seen if O’Brien will be well enough to play any part at Wycombe on Saturday.

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