Shrewsbury’s 2-2 draw with local rival Wolves on Tuesday marked the first live football game I have attended in nearly three months and more importantly gave me my first chance to have a look at our new signings as we prepare for life in League One next season.
There was five new faces in the starting eleven with a further two new faces making appearances as substitutes in the second half.
Replacing his near name sake Chris Neal in goal was former Leicester stopper Chris Weale. Weale’s reviews for his first two games had been mixed so I was eager to see what he had to offer us between the posts.
Weale’s performance was far from solid. He looked shaky at points, struggling with his kicks and not commanding his area very well. Some fans have claimed he could have done better for the first goal, a deflected strike from Wolve’s Sylvan Ebanks-Blake but I feel those judgements are a little harsh.
The keeper has not played much for Leicester in the last year and will take a few games to get back to match fitness; I’ve still got faith in him and the experience he will bring to the team. Will he be number one? I will have to see Anyon before I can make a decision on that one.
Off all the signings this summer Purdie was the one I was the most sceptical of. He arrived from a team that had just been relegated and he had failed to impress me whenever I had seen him playing against Shrewsbury. However yesterday he proved beyond all doubt that he was worthy of a place in our squad, if not our starting eleven.
Purdie slotted in at left back in place of Joe Jacobsen and whilst I wouldn’t have him in the side ahead of Jacobsen I was very much impressed with his performance. He has played in various positions during pre season and has proved himself to be a valuable asset. Overall, a fantastic bit of Business from Mr Turner.
Our most recent signing made his full debut against Wolves and what an impressive one it was. After being on loan at Barnet for the majority of last season the Reading defender has now made up the step up to league one. Strong and composed he looks as though he will be a valuable asset to our side this coming season.
Having lost both Ian Sharps and Shane Candsell Sherriff at the end of last season the pressure was really on Graham Turner to find a suitable replacement for the pair. Step forward Darren Jones. After a successful season last year at Aldershot where he won their player of the season award the centre back was deemed a worthy replacement for Sharps and Sherriff as we prepare for live in league one. He is also potential captain material for the coming season as well. A very promising signing.
After failing to get offered a contract with us last season after a trial match Summerfield moved to Cheltenham and was one of the sides key players in what was a very successful season for the Robins. Composed on the ball and barely putting a pass wrong, Luke has fitted into our starting eleven well and will no doubt retain his position come the opening game of the season.
For many Shrewsbury fans Parry has been the signing of the summer and on Tuesday he lived up to his expectations. His experience will be valuable to our side as we prepare for life in a new division. He will no doubt be in competition for a starting place on the left with Mark Wright but I think he just beat him to it come August 11th. A fantastic signing and a player that will no doubt prove vital over the next 12 months.
Making a brief cameo for the last 20 minutes, the former Oxford midfielder looked lively going forward and certainly looked as though he could well be the attacking midfielder. He will definitely be contesting for a starting place in two weeks.
The signing of Ryan Doble was one which was questioned by many of the Shrewsbury contingent and the Welsh u-21 striker has yet to impress for us during pre season. His lack of experience may well hold him back in terms of getting a place in the first team. I was unimpressed with Doble on Tuesday, hopefully he can show me a bit more in the coming games.
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