Meet the opposition: In-form Shrewsbury, Cotterill breaks record and watch out for Harry!
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town travel to Shrewsbury this weekend in search of League One points, MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's Shropshire hosts, who are on a good run of form.
The Blues will be looking to double Shrewsbury having beaten them in a hard-fought League One clash at Portman Road back in November - Jack Lankester's late winner proving decisive.
That defeat meant the Shrews had only won one of their first 12 League One games - it's a different story now!
Four days after that Town defeat, Shrews parted company with boss Sam Ricketts and two days later, Steve Cotterill took charge.
Since then it has been a steady climb up the table. The experienced Cotterill's first league game in charge was a 2-2 draw at home to Accrington in early December, followed by a 1-0 win at Hull, who were then top. Away wins at Lincoln (second) and Doncaster (third) completed an impressive treble - and a record against the top sides that Paul Lambert would love to have at Town!
The Shrews beat Sunderland 2-1 at New Meadow on Tuesday night - they have now won seven of the 12 League One games they have played since Cotterill took over - a club record for a new manager.
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They will relish the challenge of another of League One's perceived 'bigger' sides. Shrewsbury sit nine points away from the relegation zone and six behind Town. They are fifth in the current form table (last six games). Town are 16th.
COTTERILL'S COVID SCARE
Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill won't be at New Meadow for the game.
The 56-year-old is still in hospital where he is recovering from Covid. It's remarkable that he has still played such a big part in the club's current upturn, despite being in intensive care for a spell.
Assistant boss Aaron Wilbraham said this week Cotterill played a huge role in Tuesday's win over Sunderland, despite his health.
"He's put in so much time and effort and to be doing that is unbelievable," Wilbraham told BBC Radio Shropshire.
"We all need to realise the gaffer is still in hospital. He gets out of breath when he is speaking to the lads. He is putting his body on the line for the team even though he is not here."
Town will need to be wary of Blackburn loanee, Harry Chapman, who is proving a big hit for the Shrews - should he play!
Chapman netted his fourth goal in Shrewsbury colours as they beat Sunderland in midweek.
The 23-year-old was named the club’s player of the month for January, scoring two in the win over Peterborough, while starting February with a match-winning goal at Swindon.
He followed that up with another goal as the Shrews ended Sunderland’s unbeaten away record, though there was concern when he went off injured in the second half.
“He rolled his ankle a little bit, he’s said he’s fine but we’ll have to see how he goes. I don’t think it was too bad but we’ll have to see how that settles down," said Shrews assistant boss Wilbraham.
Shaun Whalley is the club's leading scorer on five.
Town have a decent record against Shrewsbury, home and away.
Indeed you have to go back to 1987 to find the last time the Shrews tamed Town. Bobby Ferguson was the Town boss when both teams were in the old Division Two. Shrewsbury won 2-1.
Since then, in a variety of league and cup clashes, home and away, totalling nine in all, Town have won six. There have been three draws.
LEGEND FRED, THE CORACLE MAKER
Before it was named New Meadow, Shrewsbury's ground was known as Gay Meadow, on the River Severn.
For many years, Fred Davies, a Shrewsbury coracle (small boat) maker, achieved notability among fans, by a unique service he and his coracle provided.
He would sit in his coracle during Shrewsbury home matches, and retrieve any stray footballs that went into the River Severn. Although Davies died long ago, his legend is still associated with the club.
Today, and now named the New Meadow since 2007, the ground has a capacity of just over 10,000. The record attendance at the New Meadow is 10,210 v Chelsea in the 2014–15 Football League Cup.