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Shrewsbury Town have several options to replace injured Nurse

George Nurse’s injury is a big blow for Shrewsbury Town – and now Steve Cotterill has to find someone to play in his position for the foreseeable future.

Jordan Shipley of Shrewsbury Town and Ben Garrity of Port Vale (AMA)
Jordan Shipley of Shrewsbury Town and Ben Garrity of Port Vale (AMA)

The 23-year-old has been ruled out for the season with an ACL injury, and now the Town boss needs to find the best replacement for him on the left side of the pitch.

For the vast majority of this season, Shrewsbury have played with a back five – with Nurse playing at left-wing-back.

At times they have shifted to a back four, at which point he has then featured at left-back.

Cotterill has said on numerous occasions part of Town’s recruitment policy is to sign players capable of playing in different positions, and so he has a few options to fill the void left by Nurse’s injury.

Jordan Shipley looks to be the most obvious choice.

The former Coventry City man signed in the summer and has spent the majority of his Salop career playing a more advanced role.

He did play at wing-back in Town’s Carabao Cup game against Carlisle United earlier this season, and the 25-year-old was due to play in the role in their fixture at Cheltenham.

But his wife went into labour, and he missed the game.

That meant Luke Leahy, who signed for Town as a left-wing-back, filled in during the game that saw Town slip to the second away defeat of the season.

Since joining the club, the skipper has moved to play in the centre of midfield with great effect, and the team would badly miss his presence middle of the park were he to move out wide permanently. His energy and pressing has set the tone for Salop this year, and it has played a big part in their solid start to the League One season.

Another option is Elliott Bennett.

The 33-year-old has just recovered from a minor ankle surgery that has kept him out for most of the season.

And Bennett is another versatile player, and his experience may help him to adjust to the role on the opposite side. Partly because he has played in that area before.

During his five-year stint at Blackburn Rovers, he played on the left side of midfield and at left-back left-wing-back as well.

And Rovers’ boss at the time, Tony Mowbray, said he liked the fact he can play in different positions.

“I like his versatility,” Mowbray said speaking about Bennett in 2019. “A lot of times in League One he was playing off the left wing, off the right wing and was the balance on one side as a hard-working midfield player.

“Obviously, he could play in central areas and be competitive for the team, he has good athleticism and legs.”

With Julien Dacosta now back from injury, it could mean Bennett could swap flanks to cover.

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