League Two Season Preview 2006/07 – Shrewsbury Town

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Shrewsbury Town

Odds: 20/1

Last Five Seasons

2005/06 – 10 (League Two), 2004/05 – 21 (League Two), 2003/04 – 3 (Conference, Promoted), 2002/03 – 24 (League Two, Relegated), 2001/02 – 9 (League Two).

2005/06 Cup Progress

FA Cup Second Round vs Colchester United (h) – lost 2-1.

Carling Cup Second Round vs Sheffield United (h) – lost 4-3 on penalties with the score at 0-0 after additional time.

Football League Trophy Southern Section First Round vs Cheltenham Town (h) – lost 2-0.

Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Colin McMenamin (striker) – 11 goals.

Players In

Ryan Esson (Aberdeen – Free), Daniel Hall (Oldham Athletic – Free), Chris MacKenzie (Chester City – Free), Stuart Drummond (Chester City – Free), Ben Davies (Chester City – Free).

Players Out

Joe Hart (Manchester City – £600,000), Glyn Thomspon (Hereford United – Free), Jamie McClen (Kidderminster Harriers – Free).

Shrewsbury Town missed out on the play-offs by three points last season but manager Gary Peters feels he has a squad that is ready to push for promotion next season. He believes the new signings he has made, including six young players aged 20 and under who all played 40 plus matches last season, are capable of hitting the ground running come August.

The signing of former Aberdeen goalkeeper Ryan Esson was a surprise but shows what goal the Gay Meadow outfit has. Esson, a direct replace Joe Hart who joined Manchester City for £600,000, agreed a two year contract with the Shrews, bringing his 10 year stint at Aberdeen to an end. Esson started almost 100 matches for the Dons, including 18 appearances in the Scottish Premier League last season.

Shrewsbury managed to fend off interest from Dunfermline Athletic to lure the player to League Two and Esson has the backing of former Manchester United and Scotland goalkeeper Jim Leighton. The pair were team mates at Aberdeen before Leighton became Essons goalkeeping coach at Pittodrie.

Defender Richard Hope looks set to retain the captains armband next season, despite the arrival of Stewart Drummond from Chester City who is expected to compete for the role. Drummond took over as skipper last season when regular captain Kevin Sharp lost his place in the team to Neil Ashton.

Peters, keen to bolster his front line, has invited Shropshire born striker Andy Cooke to his pre season preparations. The former Telford United trainee is a free agent after being released by Bradford City.

Verdict

Despite the loss of goalkeeper Joe Hart, manager Gary Peters has bought well in the move market and has strengthened the squad in time for the new campaign. The Shrews narrowly missed out on the play offs last season but could be strong enough this time around to obtain a top seven finish.

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