Shropshire Star

Steve Cotterill will keep pushing Shrewsbury to the very end

The postponement of Shrewsbury’s game against Bristol Rovers gives everyone a chance to take stock before the final run-in.

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The schedule has been relentless since the turn of the year and for Town’s small squad, injuries are biting with nine league games left to play.

But if we go back to the start of 2023, few could have predicted the run Shrewsbury have been on since the game against Fleetwood Town on New Year’s Day.

They began the year with 29 points from their 23 games, and they have since taken 26 points from the following 14 fixtures they have played – including winning six games in succession.


That run ended with the defeat at Accrington, but Town will be delighted by the results they have picked up and it has seen them surpass last year’s tally of 50 points with nine League One games remaining.

Another sign of Town’s progression has seen them increase their output in front of goal, too, already netting 47 times this season – matching their tally of 21/22 – and they have ample time to add more.

Results show they have competed well against teams near the top of the division for a while, but the improvement this year can perhaps come down to beating the sides around them more consistently.

Of course, you cannot beat them all, but on the whole, it is something Town have been good at.

A play-off pushed looked on, but the sheer size of the clubs they are competing with, both capacity-wise and depth of the squad, has just allowed those above them to open up a gap – currently at nine points.

Bolton are the ones in sixth and if an unlikely play-off push was on, they would be the ones they have a chance of catching.

But with Tom Bayliss ruled out for the season and long-term absentees Dan Udoh and George Nurse also out for the remainder of the campaign, it looks as though it might be a step too far for Shrewsury’s depleted squad to launch a late challenge.

It has no doubt been a season of progress to date, and if ever there was a manager you would want in charge of your team to make sure players do not get complacent between now and the start of their summer holidays it would be Steve Cotterill.

The boss is a huge competitor, who hates losing, so one would expect his players will be on their toes and ready to work hard for the next six weeks.

One thing that you cannot question for Salop, though, is the postponement of this weekend’s game being a real blow for them.

As Cotterill himself said it may help them recharge their batteries for the game against Charlton on April 1, but then they have to play their remaining eight matches in 36 days to bring down the curtain on their campaign.

The game against Bristol Rovers will now be the penultimate game of the season, and the last home game before they close the campaign with a trip to Lincoln on the final day.