PREVIEW: Shrewsbury Town v Luton Town

editorial image
0
Have your say

It’s been very much a case of all change at Shrewsbury Town over the summer.

Relegation to League Two capped a hugely disappointing previous campaign, with caretaker boss Mike Jackson ultimately leaving his position to return to the coaching staff.

Ex-Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon was appointed in May and certainly wielded the axe, releasing seven players, including former Hatters midfielder Asa Hall and making a hefty 17 new signings.

Mellon’s methods appears to be working too as six games in and the Shrews are yet to beaten, while although they’ve made a steady beginning to life in their new League Two surroundings, it’s their Capital One Cup form that is catching the eye.

If knocking out Championship side Blackpool in the first round wasn’t impressive enough, they then went to the King Power Stadium, home of Premier League Leicester City on Tuesday and came away with a 1-0 win.

That has earned a third round home tie against Norwich City, but despite the cup run, promotion is the one thing on the mind of the club as midfielder Jordan Clark told the club’s official website: “This (Luton) game is just as important, if not more though.

“We need to keep winning our home games and keep trying to push to get to the top of the league.

“It would be unbelievable if we could get promoted. I think it’s what the club needs.

“With the way we’re playing at the moment, it looks really exciting for the season.”

Shrewsbury’s league form looks to be giving them every chance of achieving that goal, as the old mantra of win your home games and pick up points away, is ringing true.

An opening day 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon was followed by home victories against Tranmere and Accrington, before they were held 1-1 by Northampton on their travels.

Mellon’s recruiting process is showing no signs of slowing either as midfielder Anthony Griffith was added to the squad on Wednesday.

He is one in a long line of impressive looking additions as Irish international midfielder Liam Lawrence was featuring regularly in the Premier League for Stoke City not too long ago, while the likes of Andy Robinson, Nat Knight-Percival, Ashley Vincent and Scott Vernon have all played at a higher level.

Ex-Town striker Andy Mangan was also snapped up, with the forward top-scorer so far, while enticing James Collins back for his second spell looks a fine piece of business too.

New addition Griffith believes everything is in place to mount a promotion charge too, with the main reason, the man in charge.

He told the BBC: “I’ve always known that Shrewsbury have good players. The one big plus for me coming here is the manager.

“His man-management skills are fantastic. Micky does things in the right way and speaks to people in the right manner, which is fantastic.

“And, from what I saw against Leicester, the club is only going in one direction. My target is to play, get promoted and see where we are.”

Team news: Anthony Griffith could make his Shrewsbury debut against Luton after joining in the week, although he is expected to be on the bench.

Andy Mangan is missing after picking up a hamstring injury in the 1-0 Capital One Cup win over Leicester.

Liam Lawrence is still suspended after being sent off at Northampton, Mark Ellis is in contention after a knee injury but Dave McAllister (ankle) is not match fit.

The Hatters will have Scott Griffiths back after he missed the trip to Accrington with a hamstring injury, but Jonathan Smith, Shaun Whalley, Alex Lawless and Andy Parry aren’t expected to feature.

Top goalscorer: Shrews - Andy Mangan (4). Hatters - Luke Rooney (2).

Averague League Two attendance: Shrews - 4,774. Hatters - 8,496.

Man in the middle: Peter Bankes - has taken two games so far, both in League Two, showing seven yellows.

Was handed the Conference play-off final last year, while also took Luton’s 3-0 win over Alfreton in the league, plus the 0-0 home draw with Grimsby.

In charge: Micky Mellon - 42-year-old former midfielder who began his career with Bristol City in 1989 before moving to League of Ireland club Cork City.

Left Ashton Gate in 1993, moving to West Bromwich Albion for £75,000 and was snapped up by Blackpool a year later for £50,000.

Moved up a division, when Tranmere, then in Division One splashed out £300,000, while two years later, Burnley coughed up £350,000 for his services.

Released in May 2004 and joined Kidderminster Harriers, before retiring in 2005.

Appointed assistant manager of Lancaster City in June 2006, but then headed to Burnley as youth team coach.

Handed his first managerial role in September 2008 when he took over at Fleetwood and led them out of Conference North with a play-off win over Alfreton in the 2009-10 season.

Two years later, Mellon led the Cod Army to the Football League by winning the Conference, but despite a solid start, three defeats in a row saw him sacked on December 1, 2012.

Swiftly Joined Barnsley as part of the coaching staff, who knocked back two offers from Forest Green, until he was let go in March.

Wasn’t out of work for long, as he became Shrewsbury boss on May 12.

View from the opposition: Micky Mellon speaking to the club’s official website: “They’re a team with momentum and a team used to winning games.

“That’s a fantastic thing to have in your armoury. They know how to win games and they have experienced how to win games.

“We know the threats that they possess, but we believe we’ve got enough within our group to frighten them and gain our own moments in the game.

“We’re looking forward to it. It will be a good game and there should be a cracking crowd here.

“We’ve got to be somewhere within and around our best in order to keep us moving forward.”

One to watch: Striker James Collins is showing signs already of recapturing the form showed in his first spell with the Shrews.

Then, after a successful loan spell at Burton, he joined permanently from Aston Villa in January 2011, scoring eight goals

It was the next campaign he caught the eye though, as Collins bagged 16 goals, to earn a move to Swindon.

From the County Ground, he headed north to Hibernian for £200,000 but was back at Shrewsbury in the summer and has already netted three times.

Friendly faces: Andy Mangan - joined Hatters on loan from Forest Green Rovers towards the end of last season, but never featured for Hatters.

On his release from Rovers, snapped by the Shrews and has netted four in six games so far.

We’ve got form: Hatters have enjoyed an impressive return from their travels to Shrewsbury, as in the 10 previous meetings, they have won five, lost four and draw once, scoring 14 and conceding 15.

The previous history is good as barring defeat last time, they were unbeaten in five visits since a 5-1 hammering in the old Division Three back in 1970 when Mike Harrison scored.

Hatters’ biggest win came in the 1996-97 campaign, when they were 3-0 winners, thanks to goals from Paul Showler, Mitchell Thomas and Kim Grant.

Last time out: Hatters were well beaten on their last trip to Shrewsbury, going down to a 3-0 defeat.

Paul Murray got the scoring underway after just four minutes, while late strikes from Ben Davies (76) and Grant Holt (87) sealed Town’s fate.

Midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who recently joined Spurs for £6.8million, could only make the Shrews bench that day, replacing Murray after 78 minutes.

Hatters: Conrad Logan, Jale Howells, Ian Roper, Claude Gnakpa (Jordan Patrick 86) Harry Worley, Rossi Jarvis, Keith Keane, Michael Spillane, Chris Martin (Wayne Andrews 61) Paul McVeigh, Tom Craddock.

Subs not used: Dean Brill, George Beaven, Mark Farthing.

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Attendance: 6,188.