Shrewsbury Town: A half-season report – Part Two
It’s been a few weeks since I posted my first half of my mid-season review and whilst I must first apologise for my absence a lot has changed since then, Shrewsbury are currently on a eight game unbeaten run having conceded only one goal in five games. Things are finally starting to look up at the Meadow so the second part of my review may seem a bit more optimistic than my original.
Rob Purdie- Utility player
Rob Purdie was a signing that underwhelmed most Shrewsbury fans this summer, it was clear he wasn’t likely to break into the first team and that he was likely to just be a bench warmer. This has not been the case, Purdie has been utilised to the best of his abilities. He played at left back earlier in the campaign and was a solid player as the season started well, he ultimately lost his place in the side but he has since regained it and is playing on the left wing in place of Paul Parry whose form has dropped considerably. Whilst he is not awe inspiring, Puride has been a valuable asset to the team and I’m sure he will be a key player in the second half of the season.
Paul Parry- Left Winger
Everything looked so bright for Paul Parry, arguably the biggest signing of our summer Parry was a shining star in the opening few games of the season, chipping in with a few goals including a superb match winner in our first home game of the season against Preston. Then everything just seemed to go downhill all of a sudden, he has not been included in our team in recent weeks and I really think he will struggle to regain his place. His form fell rapidly, hopefully he can fight his way back into the team and remind us why he was one of our best players.
Jon Taylor- Right Winger
When Jon Taylor burst into the first team two seasons ago no-one could quite believe quite how good this guy was. His lightning pace and perfect finishing made him look like one of the best pure talents we had produced in some years. After contract worries the following summer Taylor finally signed a two year deal, exciting fans and management alike at the club. Then last season was a huge disappointment, Taylor didn’t get his name on the score sheet once and everyone was just feeling confused. Thankfully midway through this season the old Jon Taylor returned, in recent weeks he has been on fire and has been making League one defences look like Sunday league ones. His goal scoring form has certainly helped lift us out of the relegation zone and give the fans a much needed feeling of optimism. If he can keep up this form there will no doubt be some bigger clubs looking at him in the summer.
Luke Summerfield- Central Midfielder
Summerfield along with Chris Weale has been the signing of the summer. A fantastic addition to the midfield he has shown what an influential player he can be this season, pulling the strings in our midfield and even contributing with a goal or two. His recent hernia operation has seen him absent from the team for a few weeks but he made his return with a little cameo this weekend against Hartlepool, alongside new signing David McCalister he could form a fantastic partnership.
Matt Richards-Central Midfielder
Last seasons player of the year turned this seasons captain has had a mixed half to his campaign. Playing in a variety of different positions Richards looked as though he was struggling to find his place this season but a return to his native central midfield role seems to have settled him down a little bit. He has been a shadow of his former self so far, failing to hit the high standards he set himself last season. Despite being captain he may well struggle to hold his place in the team if his form doesn’t pick up.
Asa Hall- Central Midfielder
It seems as though whatever Asa Hall does, he still can not get himself a place in the starting 11. He has proved he can bring a physical presence especially in the air (his two goals in quick succession against Colchester showed us that) to the team, he can pass well and he has a decent shot on him (Crewe in the JPT anyone?) So what does he need to do!? With the arrival of David McCalister and loanee Stephen McGinn it looks at though Hall may never get a decent shot in the first team. With an abundance of Midfielders in the squad at the moment I would not be surprised to see him loaned out soon.
Arran Wildig- Central Midfielder
Wildig had a lengthy run in the first team at the end of last season and his efforts were rewarded with a permanent deal at the end of the season. Summerfield’s hernia injury has seen him get a place in the team in recent weeks but his performances have not quite been up to scratch. His passes are often misplaced and he has looked very weak in possession, not all of his performances have been terrible but fans seem annoyed that he was consistently chosen ahead of Asa Hall. I struggle to see him working his way back into the team with the addition of new faces to the squad, like Hall I wouldn’t be surprised to see him loaned out. Needs to improve in the second half of the campaign.
Mark Wright or as he’s also known, everyone’s favourite scapegoat. Mark Wright gets an awful lot of unfair criticism from fans. He has been one of our most consistent goalscorers over the last two seasons and it is with this in mind I’m judging him. He made get lost on occasion but his ability to put the ball in the net is arguably better than that of anyone in our squad. Recent injuries have kept him out of the side but I’d like to see a return to the starting 11 when he is fully fit.
Luke Rodgers- Striker
Luke Rodgers return was hailed as somewhat of a second coming. I wrote a piece just before he returned asking whether he was what we needed to help us stay up. Whilst we have moved away from the dreaded bottom four I don’t think this is solely down to Mr Rodgers. His ability is still evident, his touches are superior to that of many others in the team and he makes some fantastic runs but I’m not quite sure if our tactics benefit his style of play. He has notched in one goal so far since his comeback but has the tendency to become anonymous during games. Hopefully he can find his scoring boots soon.
Marvin Morgan- Striker
Marvin has been the very definition of a Jekyll and Hyde player so far this season. He is currently our joint top goalscorer with 6 goals but he doesn’t seem to be able to keep his scoring boots on. He will go weeks looking lost on the pitch, taking poor touches, getting caught in possession and hopelessly missing the target then out of the blue he will play a blinder, looking deadly in goal and wreaking havoc on defences. Many have questioned whether he is good enough for league one, he has shown he can be, we just need to see more of it!
Bradshaw burst onto the scenes at Shrewsbury when he smashed a 25 yarder past Crewe with his touch of the ball at the age of 17. Three years later he seems to have done little in the way of progression. He is a lively player who can be useful as an impact sub late in games but he has yet to find the net this campaign and if he fails to find any form before the end of the season I would not be surprised if we said goodbye to Mr Bradshaw.
Ryan Doble- Striker
Ryan Doble was signed the day after we sold James Collins to Swindon. To say fans were skeptical would be an understatement, a 21 year old with no real football league experience who had never found the net hardly seemed a good replacement. Fans were right to be skeptical as Doble has made about as much impact as a pebble in the ocean, in his brief cameo’s he has not looked up to the standard that is expected and I would be surprised if he is kept on at the end of the season. Perhaps a loan would help sort him out.
Terry Gornell- Striker
Gornell clearly struggled with the step up to League One. Despite having previous experience at the level with Tranmere he looked very much out of his depth and failed to find the form which saw him earn his place in the starting 11 last season. His move to Rochdale will no doubt be good for him, he has already found the net on five occasions. All the best Terry!