Doncaster Rovers: The lowdown on opponents Shrewsbury Town
Undoubtedly, the surprise package of the League One season is Shrewsbury Town.
But the surprise factor has worn off in mid-January and The Shrews are comfortably in the race for automatic promotion.
To get the lowdown on a superb season so far for Paul Hurst’s side, we spoke to Lewis Cox, the Town writer for Shropshire Star.
Q: After their incredible start, Shrewsbury have managed to stay the course. What do you put this down to?
Lewis Cox: They have stuck to the principles that got them off to a flying start, hard-work, organisation, fitness, spirit - and, remarkably, they have not really been ‘found out’ by opposition.
Their watertight defence has kept them there. A fine effort of just one conceded in seven games prior to the Blackburn defeat was an example of how solid they have been. Ewood Park was the first time Town conceded three goals in any competition all season.
Q: Paul Hurst must be king of the town at the minute?
LC: Quite. A few weeks ago unidentified supporters built a ‘Paul Hurst Way’ road sign – you can search the Shropshire Star story – in his honour near the ground. The level-headed boss laughs it off of course, but he is doing a phenomenal job.
Q: Are the club looking to do any business in January to get them over the line?
LC: They are searching for wide players. Wingers Alex Rodman and Shaun Whalley have had good seasons but there needs to be more competition on them, rather than just Arthur Gnahoua - who scored that added time winner one Doncaster.
Town have already signed defenders Max Lowe and Luke Hendrie.
Q: What style of play does Hurst favour?
LC: They have played a 4-1-4-1 all season and it has suited them to a tee.
At their best Shrewsbury are intense and don’t give their opposition a second of peace on the ball.
The central midfield three have been crucial to the success.
Q: Who are the danger men?
LC: Central midfielder Jon Nolan is very talented on the ball and if he has a good day then he will be extremely influential for Town securing a positive result.
Lone striker Carlton Morris’ hold-up and link play is among the best in the league, while the wingers have chipped in this season.
Q: Prediction for the game?
LC: I’ll go for 2-0 Shrewsbury.