January ahoy...

Wednesday 26th December 2012 18:16

Taylor: a young Luke Rodgers

Taylor: a young Luke Rodgers

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Shrewsbury FanZoner Nick Statham hopes Graham Turner will be a busy man in the transfer window.

Transfer window could decide the Shrews season

Due to a catalogue of personal disasters that have left me wondering whether I was a professional mirror smasher in a former life, this is the first opportunity I've had to commit my thoughts on Salop for a couple of months.

Unfortunately, things have been no less turbulent for my football team during that unhappy period.

I left off last time identifying the signing of a goalscorer as the most pressing matter for Graham Turner, while noting that the recent defensive record suggested things were beginning to gel at the back.

While I still believe a striker should be near the top of Turner's January shopping list, it has been the defence which has been the main cause for concern since my last blog entry.

Following the 1-0 home victory over Walsall, we then went six games without a win - five of those being defeats, including an ignominious 3-1 FA Cup defeat at vaguely local non-leaguers Hereford.

The return of Michael Hector to parent club Reading and the signing of experienced defender Julian Bennett did little to stop the rot.

We developed an infuriating predilection for conceding early goals, ensuring we had our work cut out before the afternoon really began.

In three consecutive games (Colchester, Hereford and Bour

nemouth) we conceded as early as the third minute.

The nadir coming on Bennett's debut at Bournemouth, where we found ourselves 2-0 down within the first six minutes. Surprisingly, we managed to claw one back and keep the scoreline to a relatively respectable 2-1, when an embarrassing mauling looked on the cards.

consolation

It's probably a sign of how bleak things were beginning to look that this was of some consolation.

Once we had sorted out the 'early goal' conundrum, however, (holding out until as late as the 33rd minute at Leyton Orient!) we began - you guessed it - conceding crushingly late equalisers (see Crawley (a) and MK Dons (h).

We've not quite got that sorted yet - fellow strugglers Bury rescued a point in injury time - but amid the failed loan signings and general fist-chewing frustration, we've discovered some fight.

Although the performances may not have convinced anyone that we're bound for anything other than a long, hard relegation fight, we've only lost two of our last six, including creditable 2-2 draws with MK Dons and Crawley.

When Turner said very early in the season that 'January could be an important time for us' he was very close to admitting what many Town fans were beginning to believe - that he'd either seriously underestimated the quality required to compete in League One, or too many of his transfer targets had eluded him.

He may have brought back Ratcliffe-era cult hero Luke Rodgers to add a bit of experience to his attacking options, but the fact we currently sit outside the bottom four owes more to the resurgence of Jon Taylor.

Somewhat ironically, Taylor's playing style is most reminiscent of the young Luke Rodgers - pacy, direct and with an eye for goal.

After that abysmal run of six games without a win, 'not adrift by January' was about the best that some of us believed could be hoped for.

Well, the promised land of January's just around the corner and we're just about keeping our head above water.

Over to you Graham...

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