Survival the priority for Shrewsbury

Tuesday 28th January 2014 16:36

Graham Turner: Deserves his 'legend' status says FanZoner Nick Statham

Graham Turner: Deserves his 'legend' status says FanZoner Nick Statham

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Shrewsbury FanZoner Nick Statham gives his thoughts on Graham Turner's departure and Town's battle to escape relegation back to League Two.

So, we've not embarked on a new era under a new manager as yet - we're in a sort of interim period with caretaker/candidate Mike Jackson taking the reins for three games.

Before I get on to the Swindon game, I should devote a few words to Graham Turner, who stood down following the 3-0 home drubbing by Rotherham.

Personally, I feel it's a shame GT couldn't turn the tide and guide us to safety before standing aside or possibly moving upstairs at the end of the season. He deserved better than that.

Let's not forget that he deserves his 'legend' status as much for guiding us to a long strived for promotion in 2012 as he does for winning the old Division Three back in '79.

But a run of six successive home defeats - and goalless ones at that - left his position almost untenable.

Even those of us who thought he would eventually turn things round had to concede that an argument for his continued tenure was becoming harder and harder to make.

Sadly Graham concurred and the news that he had decided to call time on his second stint as STFC boss broke on the Tuesday morning following the Rotherham horror-show.

It remains baffling that the mistakes of the previous season, although acknowledged by Turner, seemed to be repeated again.

A succession of hit-and-miss loan players and very light in the striker department, yet Graham seemed confident at the start of the season - almost reassuringly so.

This time round, though, the situation was compounded by some ill-timed injuries and the permanent signings he did make in the summer not really working out.

Alex McQuade, for example, seemed to have been almost immediately discarded, much like Asa Hall last season.

Perhaps McQuade shouldn't give up hope just yet, though. In a strange turn of events Hall is now back in the first XI after returning from Oxford and finding both Summerfield and Wildig confined to the treatment room.

Mike Jackson took the reins for the first of three games at Swindon on Saturday, and presided over a 3-1 defeat.

On paper it's a poor result, but we certainly looked more positive than we have of late and were very unlucky not to take at least a point.

His decision to drop Winfield and play Conor Goldson alongside Mkandawire at the heart of the defence shows he has some ideas of his own.

As did restoring Paul Parry to the first XI, after he'd become pretty much a fringe player under Turner.

Parry almost immediately repaid Jackson's faith with a stunning 20-yard free-kick to make it 1-1 just before half-time.

We then went close through Taylor, Eaves, Hall and Parry again, before being hit with a late sucker-punch before Swindon really rubbed salt into the wound in injury time.

A glance at the league table makes for bleak viewing - third bottom having played two more games that the rest of the bottom 4.

Reasons for optimism? The display showed plenty of fight and attacking intent. We didn't look like the no-hopers of the Rotherham game.

Even with Summerfield and Wildig out, Hall, McAllister and highly-rated new man Fyvie are decent options in central midfield.

If Celtic loanee Bahrudin Atajic and Tom Eaves can come up with the goods up front, Goldson can gel with Mkandawire and Jackson can bring out the best in Parry, we might just have enough to climb out of the unholy mess we find ourselves in.

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