Shrewsbury Town: Turner Must Prise Open The Wallet & Save Us From The Drop

Three successive home games without scoring a single goal is adding to the pressure and Graham Turner must sign and sign well to save us from oblivion...
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Three successive home games without scoring a single goal is adding to the pressure and Graham Turner must sign and sign well to save us from oblivion...

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Boundary Park in Oldham. Distance-wise, only about 12 miles from Old Trafford - but in football terms, it’s a whole different galaxy. On a cold, wet, New Year’s Day, a few hours before England’s reigning champions play Spurs, Oldham are welcoming my club, Shrewsbury for an important game in the lower reaches of League One.

None of the twenty-two players on this pitch are bothered with image rights, or which high-powered sports car to buy with this weeks’ wages. There is much more at stake – livelihoods. For Shrewsbury, in their second season back in English Football’s third tier, find themselves once again looking over their shoulders at the bottom four.

After a summer of rebuilding, with the idea of bringing in better quality players to replace the outgoing ones, Graham Turner finds himself in the exact same position as he was in last season. Alright, the frustrating habit of conceding late equalisers and winners has been largely cured, replaced instead by an equally frustrating inability to score goals when it matters - three successive home games have been lost by a single goal. Recent games against fellow strugglers Crewe and Tranmere, games where you would have backed us to come out on top, yielded just one point.

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So, is the squad any better? On the plus side, Aaron Wildig looks to finally have come good after two years of me wondering just who’s dick he was sucking to be getting a game week in, week out. Jon Taylor also looks to be maturing well with another active season under his belt. But, as it always seems with Shrewsbury, the negatives are outweighing the positives. Rather than constructing a settled squad of players, Turner is once again relying on the loan market to bolster the team. There are currently five loan players in the squad – others have been and gone. Of the loan players, Cameron Gayle and Tom Eaves were on loan at various times last season, Nicky Wroe has returned having found limited playing time at Preston (just proving the grass isn’t always greener), the kid Ugwu on loan from Reading showed initial promise but has been found wanting more recently, and Adam Reach from Middlesbrough has actually shown consistency in his performances. Yet after the coming week, they are all due to return to their parent clubs.

With the transfer window now officially open, the time has surely come for Graham Turner to prise open his chairman’s wallet and secure some permanent signings with the quality to haul us away from the grasping fingers of the relegation zone. I’d take Tom Eaves in the blink of an eye, and a combative midfielder to protect a defence that always seems prone to lapses in concentration at the wrong time wouldn’t go amiss either…

We beat Oldham, only our second away win of the season, and the next game is at home to still-high-flying Leyton Orient. I’m not holding my breath with that one, but that’s the thing with Shrewsbury, you just never know…