Shropshire Star

Dave Edwards: Shrewsbury giving fans plenty to get excited about

This could well be the most exciting time to be a Shrewsbury Town fan since the Paul Hurst era.


Sitting ninth in the table, things have certainly gone well so far.

There are some massive clubs in League One and when you looked at the division before a ball was kicked, you could have said it was almost two divisions of a top 12 and bottom 12. The gulf between those is quite large and Shrewsbury would probably have been viewed as one of those bottom 12 clubs.

For someone to break into that top 12, it takes some excellent form and excellent tactical stuff from the manager.

That is what Shrewsbury have shown, and it would be brilliant if they could remain there and hover around those play-off spots.

They are 10 games in and have picked up 1.5 points per game – and they have also left a few out there.

It feels things are really starting to come together for Steve Cotterill.

He is a very progressive manager. He wants to play possession football but has never really had a team equipped to do that.

Although he tried at the start of last year, he realised quite quickly they had a good chance of getting dragged into trouble and it became more resilient and rigid at the back to get results.

This season, the recruitment has been solid, and you can just see the signs that the football is starting to flow. That only comes from a place of confidence, and I really do think they can kick on.

While they have a small squad, there are lots of players who can adapt to numerous positions to change system during games – something done successfully against Burton Albion on Saturday.

Another positive is the impact of Christian Saydee.

The manager had to act and bring in strikers as soon as they found out Dan Udoh was going to be missing for the season. Saydee has two in two now and has offered a lot more than that with his presence.

Saturday wasn’t an easy game. Burton, although they are right down there in the league, I think it’s a bit of a false position.

They are a good footballing team and it proved to be a very difficult game, but I thought Shrewsbury really acquitted themselves well.

Playing four at the back at home helps, and the reward was two outstanding goals.

The first one in particular, Saydee’s opener, comes from something the manager worked on a lot during my time at the club, those dead-ball situations.

On goal-kicks, recently I’ve seen he likes to play it short and then go long after that.

You might think why not just go long in the first place? But it drags teams out and once the ball goes long after a few passes, they’re in a position where Tom Bayliss wins the flick-on to Saydee and it’s three-v-three. That’s not a coincidence. It was a terrific finish from the in-form Saydee, and the second goal was classic Cotterill again.

He used to love working on the winger making that run from outside to inside. He always said if you could play the ball inside the full-back it would kill them.

The ball from Bayliss was superb, the cross from Jordan Shipley was just as good and it’s a tap-in for Ryan Bowman.

Marko Marosi had to make some top saves, but it was a really positive performance from Shrewsbury.

They are moving in the right direction. They deserve to be where they are, and there is no reason why they cannot continue this form.