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Port Vale v Shrewsbury: High-flying Town looking to push on in the Potteries

Shrewsbury Town are looking for three wins on the spin when they head to Port Vale this weekend.

Tom Bayliss of Shrewsbury Town celebrates with his team mates after scoring a goal to make it 2-2.
Tom Bayliss of Shrewsbury Town celebrates with his team mates after scoring a goal to make it 2-2.

Steve Cotterill’s side have had an impressive start to their League One campaign sitting in their highest place since 2019.

And they are unbeaten on their travels, getting good wins against promotion-chasing Wycombe and the division’s new arrivals Forest Green Rovers.

Salop have been in good goal-scoring form of late, netting five goals in their last two matches, with attacking midfielders Tom Bayliss and Jordan Shipley starting to show what they are made of for their team.

And as always, Town have made it difficult for opposition sides to break them down, with one of the best defensive records in the league.

This was recognised when Tom Flanagan, an ever-present in the Town side so far this season, was rewarded with a call-up to Northern Ireland’s squad for their upcoming Nations League fixtures.

Something that will please Cotterill is the number of options he now has to pick from.

In midweek against Exeter, he called on Christian Saydee and Ryan Bowman from the bench, who both had an impact on the game.

Likewise, Carl Winchester, who arrived on deadline day is being kept out of the side at the moment. Partly as Town continue to build him up to match fitness, but also because they have been winning games since he arrived.

It is a good position for the boss to be, that Winchester, who made 40 appearances for a Sunderland side who were promoted to the Championship last season, is having to bide his time as he waits for his first Town start.

Aiden O’Brien and Elliott Bennett are still recovering from minor operations but, all being well, they are not too far away from being back in the fold.

Especially Bennett, who was seen training with the squad during their trip to Forest Green.

Assistant manager Aaron Wilbraham says Town will need to be on it again this weekend.

“They’ve had a good start to the season so we’ll have to be at our best to get a result,” he said about their trip to Vale Park.

“It’s another tough game against a newly promoted side but we’ve got momentum so we have to make sure we’re up for the fight.”

Darrell Clarke’s side have a steady start to the season but have not won in their last three games.

Ellis Harrison will be one for Town to watch out for, the former Ipswich and Portsmouth striker has scored three times in six appearances so far this season.

Former Manchester United striker James Wilson was their top goal scorer as they finished fifth in League Two.

The forward has only made two appearances so far this campaign in Vale’s last two games.

But their talisman is back in the fold, having come on as substitute in their last two games, a bonus for vale.

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