Writer: Dan Malin
Date:Tuesday August 30 2011
Tonight we entertain League Two Shrewsbury in the first round of the, somewhat, reputable Johnstone`s Paint Trophy. The tournament acts as a mild distraction for the lower 2 tiers of the football league and offers the 48 teams involved, probably, their best chance of getting to Wembley. However, much like the carling cup, not that many teams set out to win the tournament, choosing instead to play it by ear and see how far they can get and it serves as a good platform for the better teams in League Two, like Shrewsbury, to knock out a few League One teams and get a nice little trip to London.
I, personally, can`t see Deano going all out to win the tournament but he takes every football match he is involved in very seriously and he will be playing the team he thinks can beat Shrewsbury tonight. However, Brentford on Saturday will be in the back of his mind and last weekend`s result, against Bournemouth, shows that we have the ability to pull up a few trees in this division so what should he do? We put in a cracking performance to beat The Cherries and Ryan Jarvis has really set the cat amongst the pigeons with his display down south and it is so refreshing to finally see a Walsall side with real strength in depth. However, tournaments like the JPT only fatigue the players further and sacrificing the players` fitness going into league games is something both the fans and the manager will be wary of. Although I would like to see a good game tonight, I will not be too downhearted if a good Shrewsbury team does come to Bescot tonight and beat us because they`re a good side and we really don`t need the extra games with the size of our squad.
The Shrews are not to be under-estimated based on their divisional status. They have already beaten Swansea and Derby in the Carling Cup this season and have only lost once in the league. Among their ranks are a few familiar faces and players like Mark Wright and Matty Richards have been a huge part of their good start to the season. Shrewsbury Town have built a very strong side over the last few years and the two former saddlers are among a team more than capable of winning League Two. Ian Sharps at the back is an absolute monster, much like Butler, he seems to be everywhere at the back and he gives the rest of the team the confidence to go forward knowing they can rely on Sharps to mop up any mess. Not that they often get into a mess going forward of course. They have an embarrassment of riches to choose from going forward and players like Terry Gornell and James Collins thrive on the service that they get week after week from Wrighty and Lionel Ainsworth and they will no doubt be causing all sorts of problems for whoever we have at the back tonight.
I can see Shrewsbury wanting this more than we do tonight and they have the quality in their side to really cause us some problems so I`ll go against my loyalties and back Shrewsbury to beat us 1-0.
Date:Tuesday August 30 2011
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