'I've got a manager who demands the most' - former Blue facing Town today
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town travel to Shrewsbury Town today looking to get back to winning ways after the disappointing defeat to Cambridge United last weekend. MIKE BACON takes a look at the visitors.
The story so far
Four wins in their last eight games (including an impressive 3-0 victory at Rotherham), as well as two draws, and the Shrews look set for another season in League One next year.
Indeed, sitting in eighth place in the last six-game form guide, just a place below Town, shows Shrewsbury are a side who belie their 16th place standing in the division. They are 11 points clear of the drop zone.
But it hasn't always been like that this season.
For much of the time the Shrews have been in and around the drop zone. They lost five of their first six League One encounters at the start of the campaign, and lost to Town at Portman Road in October.
But a good run of form around Christmas and New Year, where they went unbeaten in five, hauled them out of the relegation zone.
- 1 Severe delays on major Suffolk route after crash
- 2 Historic former pub with permission to convert into homes set for auction
- 3 'You have broken us!' - New cafe at Suffolk beauty spot on huge demand
- 4 Police carry out 'pre-planned' operation in Felixstowe road
- 5 Double drink driver who killed Jennifer, 32, jailed six years and eight months
- 6 Plans to explore Dutch-style cycling network in Suffolk town
- 7 'Bonne Mania' made us all smile... it faded but we'll always have the memories
- 8 Gang who stole from Suffolk museum jailed for total of 74 years
- 9 Suspected speeder detained after car crashes into field
- 10 See inside this 'chocolate box' cottage up for sale for £435,000
A recent run of wins include Rotherham (3-0), Morecambe (5-0) and Lincoln (1-0). This will be a tough gig for the Blues.
It's not often a team in the bottom half of the table has conceded less goals than many in the top six with just a handful of games to go.
But that's the situation with the Shrews, who have let in just 39 goals this season, only Rotherham (25) and Wigan (35) have a better goals against record.
However, Shrewsbury are hardly big scorers either. Their measly total of 41 goals scored so far this season is the fourth lowest in League One.
Former Town loan Pennington impressing
Luke Chambers was the only fit central defender on Ipswich Town’s books heading into the opening day of the 2018/19 season, following Paul Hurst’s drawn-out and ultimately failed attempt to sign Curtis Tilt of Blackpool.
Those attempts continued beyond the deadline for permanent deals and into the loan window, while there were also failed bids for Deji Oshilaja of AFC Wimbledon as Hurst desperately looked for reinforcements following the sale of Adam Webster.
So when Matthew Pennington arrived as a deadline day loan from Everton, the defender was viewed as something of a stop-gap, third-choice signing. He proved that was far from the case.
He was a good addition to Town's squad.
His one Ipswich goal in 30 appearances came in the 2-2 draw at Birmingham in September, before being sent-off in stoppage time.
Pennington 27, is now at Shrewsbury, and has been a shoe-in for Steve Cotterill's team throughout this season, playing in 40 of the Shrews' 41 League games. A stalwart of a strong defence.
"My aim this season was to play as many games as I can and to keep improving," Pennington said.
"I know this is a place where I can improve, I've got a manager who demands the most and demands the best."
The last time
Goals from Conor Chaplin and a then very much in-form striker Macauley Bonne deservedly earned Ipswich three points in a win over Shrewsbury the last time the two sides met back in October at Portman Road.
Bonne's second-half winner - his ninth goal of the season - came after Shaun Whalley's fierce 28th-minute strike had cancelled out Chaplin's opener.
Town moved up to 14th place that afternoon.
Town and the Shrews have met 28 times in all competitions, with Ipswich holding a strong upper hand. Indeed, Town haven't lost to the Shrews since 1987 and haven't been beaten in the teams' last 11 clashes against each other.
What the bookies say
The bookies are certainly hedging their bets with this one, giving tight odds on either side to win. The draw gives the best odds. With both teams boasting mean defences, maybe it has 0-0 written all over it!
TOWN WIN: 5/4: SHREWSBURY WIN: 2/1: THE DRAW: 11/5
Did you know?
Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury. The English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary biology was born in the town in 1809. And indeed Darwin’s legacy permeates everything in Shrewsbury, from the shopping centre that bears his name to Quantum Leap, the sculpture that commemorates Shrewsbury’s most famous son.