Shrewsbury Town Excelling Despite the Absence of Manager Steve Cotterill

Shrewsbury Town

It’s fair to say it has been a challenging season for most clubs. However, one side that are performing well despite their challenging circumstances is Shrewsbury Town. The Shrews are enjoying an excellent run of form despite the continued absence of manager Steve Cotterill.

Cotterill has taken charge of over half his league games via a hospital bed or his home. The Shrewsbury Town boss has battled with COVID-19 since the start of the year, spending two separate spells in hospital. Thankfully, he is now recovering at home.

His Shrewsbury Town team have epitomised the manager’s fighting spirit with a string of excellent results, which has the Shropshire side looking up.

Shrewsbury Town Excelling Despite the Continued Absence of Steve Cotterill

Cotterill’s Team Have Collected 33 Points from His 19 Games in Charge

The Shrews have vastly improved since Cotterill’s arrival in late November. His first game in charge was a narrow FA Cup victory over non-league Oxford City. Since then, the team has progressed and improved in recent months.

Cotterill went unbeaten in his first seven league games in charge. That run included victories over promotion contenders Hull City, Lincoln City and Doncaster Rovers. Efficiency was key to their success and certainly, this is something that has continued since Cotterill took over.

In his 19 league games in charge, the Shrews have collected 33 points and have lost just four times in that run – an impressive period despite Cotterill’s notable absence from the dugout. Assistant manager Aaron Wilbraham has led from the dugout and credit must go to him for continuing to encourage the team while the manager continues to rest and recover.

A notable improvement under Cotterill has been Shrewsbury’s away form. Since Cotterill replaced Sam Ricketts, Shrewsbury have collected 18 points on their travels, losing just once at Sunderland. That run has yielded five away wins, all with clean sheets, once again emphasising Shrewsbury’s efficiency under Steve Cotterill. Unsurprisingly, the Shrews boast the best away record of any side in the bottom half of the League One table.

It’s been an impressive start for Steve Cotterill in charge of Shrewsbury Town. His side are certainly taking his advice and tactics on board. It’s clear the players are playing for him and they are looking towards a top-half finish.

Shrewsbury Have Improved Across All Areas of the Pitch

While the manager continues to work from home, he can be very satisfied with how much the Shrews have improved across all areas of the pitch.

Under Sam Ricketts, Shrewsbury collected just nine points in thirteen league games, which included just one win and six defeats. However, under the former Bristol City and Birmingham City manager, the Shrews have won nine league games and suffered just four defeats.

Defensively is where the Shrews have arguably improved the most. Cotterill’s men have conceded 16 league goals in their 19 matches under his leadership, compared to 21 in 13 matches under Sam Ricketts. Salop have even kept seven clean sheets under Steve Cotterill, who marked the defence as an area of major concern.

Cotterill has largely settled on a back three this season and that has worked well for the players he has. Due to the hectic fixture list, Shrewsbury have rotated their defence and this hasn’t caused too much disruption. Cotterill has utilised the likes of Ro-Shaun Williams, Aaron Pierre, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Matthew Pennington excellently to keep them fit and sharp.

The Shrews have also improved offensively since Cotterill took over. They have only failed to score in three of Cotterill’s 19 league games in charge – those were defeats to Crewe Alexandra, Sunderland and Fleetwood Town. In total, the Shrews have scored 22 goals in 19 matches compared to 14 in 13 matches before Cotterill’s arrival.

It’s been a fantastic turnaround under Cotterill and, despite his continued absence, the players have continued to perform and they deserve immense credit.

A Key Component to the Shrewsbury Town Transformation Was A Strong January Transfer Window

The transfer window arrived at a good time for Steve Cotterill. Despite a strong first month in charge, adding fresh faces was always going to be high on his list. Cotterill brought in five new signings and all have made a positive impact.

Matthew Pennington arrived on loan from Everton and he has slotted into Cotterill’s back three system well. His versatility to play anywhere on the right-hand side has also been useful. Experienced midfielder David Davis arrived from Cotterill’s former side Birmingham City. He has brought real defensive steel to the midfield and can certainly create things going forward. Cotterill knows all about his abilities having worked together in the past. He has become a player Cotterill can rely on, having made eight appearances since arriving.

Talented full back Nathanael Ogbeta arrived from Manchester City and has made the left wing-back role his own. His energy, pace and quality has been crucial to Shrewsbury’s success under Cotterill. Replacing the experienced Charlie Daniels, who left for Portsmouth, was going to be a priority and Ogbeta looks at home in League One.

Curtis Main has added extra presence and fire power to the Shrews attack. He has taken time to settle, starting nine league games since his arrival from Aberdeen on transfer deadline day. He’s managed just the one goal but has also chipped in with two assists.

Perhaps their most important and impressive signing was Blackburn Rovers winger Harry Chapman. The talented winger has been instrumental in Shrewsbury’s improved season. In his 11 league appearances, Chapman has five goals, including two stunning strikes against Peterborough United, which secured just their third home victory of the season.

Chapman has emerged as the key creator in the side and a consistent run of matches has allowed the talented player to express himself and enjoy playing football again. Once again, another excellent piece of business from Steve Cotterill.

Shrewsbury Town’s Next Six Fixtures Offer a Great Chance for Cotterill’s Team to Maintain Their Good Form

Steve Cotterill will continue to watch and lead from afar and he will fancy his side can continue their good form in the next few weeks. Shrewsbury, like many League One sides, face a rampant finish to the season with regular three game weeks between now and the end of the season on May 8.

Shrewsbury’s next league game is against leaders Hull City. Cotterill’s men will be looking to do the double over the Tigers, having snatched a win in December. However, they will face a stern test from the in-form side, who have won their last five league games.

That is followed by a meeting with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s in-form Burton Albion. Hasselbaink has galvanised the Brewers since he returned and they will give Cotterill’s men a tough game. Burton have won nine of their 13 league games since Hasselbaink returned.

Shrewsbury then face out of sorts Portsmouth, inconsistent Northampton Town and free-falling Plymouth Argyle. Again, three games where Cotterill will fancy they can pick up points. Their next six games concludes with a trip to in form Gillingham with Steve Evans’ side chasing a play-off spot.

A mixed run of matches, but certainly a run of games where the Shrews can continue to push towards a top-half finish, which would represent an excellent season.

Credit To Steve Cotterill and His Team for Their Continued Performances Despite the Manager’s Absence

While they may be missing their manager in the dugout, the players are continuing to perform and deserve immense credit for their attitude and application.

A top-half finish is a realistic goal with the form Shrewsbury have shown since Cotterill’s arrival. He will be itching to be back but he will not rush and will continue to lead and manage thankfully from home as opposed to hospital.

He took on a team on its knees but has transformed them, and the only way is up for Shrewsbury under Steve Cotterill.

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