Last season could not have gone better for Shrewsbury Town, right from the beginning there was only one name that was going to be carved into that trophy. Shrews fans will have clear memories of their last League One campaign. A relegation season suffered in 2013/14. Micky Mellon has now took the reigns, assembling a squad capable of third tier survival.
Abu Ogogo and Martin Woods are the two new arrivals set to play in the heart of the Shrews midfield. Both have experience at this level although Ogogo’s year long exile from the football League, could make It difficult to regain the rhythm. This leadership is something that could be crucial, should the Shropshire side find themselves in a relegation dogfight.
Mellon is spoilt for choice with his striking options. James Collins netted 20 times last season, while Tyrone Barnett hit form towards the conclusion of the campaign. The chairman forked enough, out of his own pocket, to tie Jean Louis Akpa Akpro to a new contract until the end of the season. Although you would expect the former Tranmere Rovers man to start on the bench with Liam McAlinden also joining on loan from Wolverhampton until January. For a team expected to struggle getting just one of these players in form could be the turning point in their season.
Shrewsbury overwhelmed everybody with their superb defensive record last season, and replicating that will go some way to retaining their league One status. Jermaine Grandison is yet to sign a new deal although you would expect him to put pen to paper sometime soon, with this being his first real shot at the third division. Former Crewe Alexandra captain Matt Tootle will yet again expect to find himself in a relegation battle, this time up against his home town club. Tootle made nearly 200 appearances for the Alex but rejected a contract extension at the conclusion of the season. His dynamic nature and tireless work-rate will now be a tool that Mellon will be sure to exploit. His versatility that allows him to play on either side of the backline will make him a crucial cog in the Shrewsbury line-up.
Liam Lawrence may not have the pace that he once displayed in his Premier League days, but with 74 top flight appearances under his belt, you cannot question the Irishman’s quality. He still has more than enough ability to mix it with the best, and being that big name in a young Shrewsbury side could spur him on even more. His ability to whip the ball in time and time again will give the Shrews strikers the best chance to get on the score-sheet.
Many people will see the Shropshire side as relegation candidates, but as odd as may seem, i feel the momentum and winning mentality, will give them a good chance of a top half finish. Many players that were part of the relegation squad from two years ago have now learnt their trade and improved their skills from the season in League Two. Giving them a good opportunity to impress at this higher level.