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Bernard McNally column: A summer of change is needed at Shrewsbury Town

By Bernard McNally | Shrewsbury Town FC | Published: | Last Updated:

This is a season that I and all fans will be glad to see the back of.

A dejected keeper Jonathan Mitchell after the Good Friday loss to Barnsley (AMA)

I had a Town supporter remind me that, earlier in the season – after about five or six games – I wrote in a column that it will be a struggle this year.

Sometimes you can sense things. It has been a struggle. Sam Ricketts will want it over the line, done and dusted to start afresh.

He needs to really stamp his authority on the team. I think there’s a lot of work to be done, quite a few changes, a lot of players in.

We were spoilt last season, expectations have risen. It’s got to be more than avoiding relegation now and now getting top half or top eight.

It was so disappointing how the Oxford defeat unfolded.

When the opposition go down to 10 men in the first half, you go in at half-time and I’ve had managers that have dished out a rollicking.

That’s before the second half has even started. I remember Keith Burkinshaw, Bobby Gould and Graham Turner reading the riot act when up against 10 men at the break.

The players, if they’re not experienced enough, think ‘I don’t need to do this because we’ve got an extra man’. If you’re like that then, before you know it, the ball is in the net.

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You’ve got to go out there with a mentality of 10 v 10. We’re not a man up. Psychologically, there’s a downfall if you think you’re a man up.

It’s a big learning curve for Sam as a manager.

Unfortunately the manager always gets it in the neck, but the players have a big part to play in that. They need to have it within themselves to rally around each other and not allow others to go through the motions. It can be like playing with seven or eight men.

Luke Waterfall was caught out for both goals and, when you play against better players, your weaknesses are exploited.

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There has been no consistency for Town this season. You go to Barnsley and play well, everybody thinks things are great, and you come to Monday and end up with that result.

It’s really disappointing and very frustrating.

It’s always said you can’t rely on other teams but Shrewsbury fans and players will be crossing everything to ensure they are safe on Saturday. The trip to Coventry on Sunday is a big game, it’s a toughie, they may still have play-off aspirations. Let’s hope we can go there and perform.

We’ve said all season we don’t want it to go down to the final day against Walsall.

Even if they were down by then they’d still want to put one over on us. We need to be safe before a week on Sunday.

I was delighted to see Shaun Whalley sign a new contract. He’s one of our most talented players, exciting on the ball and has a great attitude. Shaun always wants the ball and to be an influence.

I look forward to seeing him flying next season and hopefully it’s a sign of intent from Sam.

Bernard McNally

By Bernard McNally

Former Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford player and manager, offering his thoughts on Shropshire football.

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