Scout report: Why in-form Shrewsbury can be 'more than good enough' to take on Sunderland

Sunderland take on Shrewsbury Town at the Stadium of Light this weekend - but what should the Black Cats expect?

Friday, 28th December 2018, 10:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 1:49 am
Sunderland take on Shrewsbury Town this weekend

Jack Ross' side will be full of confidence after victory over Bradford City, but will face another stern test when they welcome a Shrewsbury side who have been on a positive run of form.

So what should the Scot expect from the Shrews, and how can he tame them?

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We take a look at the Black Cats' latest opponents in our detailed scout report:

What system will Shrewsbury play?

Shrewsbury tend to operate in a 4-1-2-1-2 system - and it’s one in which they are well-versed and extremely comfortable in.

The diamond midfield provides a stable defensive base, and allows the Shrews to flood the midfield area and restrict the opposition's time on the ball.

But it doesn't detract from their attacking outlets either, with their pacy frontline more than capable of asking questions of the Sunderland backline.

Who are Shrewsbury's key players?

A rumoured target for the Black Cats in the summer, midfielder Ollie Norburn is the driving force behind the Shrews' side.

The ex-Tranmere man said earlier this week that his side can be 'more than good enough' to take on Sunderland, and his involvement will be key if they are to spring a shock.

Former Newcastle winger Alex Gilliead is also one to watch, as too is striker Fejiri Okenabirhie - who has five goals to his name so far this season.

At the back, Matt Sadler and Luke Waterfall offer some valuable experience to a fairly youthful side.

Do Shrewsbury have any injury worries?

The Shrews have no fresh injury worries ahead of their trip to the North East, meaning manager Sam Ricketts could opt to name an unchanged side from that which lost out at Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day.

Who is Shrewsbury's manager and what can we expect from them?

Sam Ricketts is the man in charge at the New Meadow, having taken the reigns earlier this month following the departure of John Askey.

And Ricketts, who joined the Shrews from Wrexham, has engineered a turnaround in results and has the side full of confidence.

Last season's play-off challengers will now be eyeing a surge up the table - and with Ricketts at the helm, it's a distinct possibility.

What form have Shrewsbury been in?

Since Askey's departure, the Shrews have been in fine form and have lost just three of their last 13 outings in all competitions.

While they lost out to Accrington in their most recent fixture, Shrewsbury have claimed eye-catching results against Coventry and Peterborough in recent weeks.

They currently sit 18th in the table, but don't let that position fool you.

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