Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland: Inside track on Shrews as Black Cats return to League One action

Shrewsbury manager John Askey
Shrewsbury manager John Askey
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Sunderland face an away trip to Shrewsbury Town this weekend - but what should Jack Ross' side expect when they travel to New Meadow?

We caught up with Lewis Cox, a Shrewsbury Town reporter for the Shropshire Star, to give us the low-down on the Salop ahead of the League One clash.

And he has revealed how the visitors are likely to line up, with pressure building on new manager John Askey.

What are Shrewsbury's expectations this season?

To consolidate. This is the club’s fourth straight season in League One. They have just survived the drop twice and went to the play-off final last time.

Clearly a season of building foundations is needed, especially after appointing John Askey from Macclesfield, and Town would take a mid-table finish, which isn’t too far beyond their current plight.

But fans have not been impressed with what they’ve seen so far and want an improvement in terms of adding results to what have been some fairly encouraging performances.

Salop have a fully fit squad to chose from after crucial defensive midfielder Anthony Grant recovered from illness. Abo Eisa (knee) is back in training but Saturday will be too early.

What can you tell us about the manager?

John Askey deserved the job after the miracle work in leading Macclesfield to the National League title, despite working on one of the lowest budgets.

The transition has been a struggle, with expectations at Shrews boosted owing to last season, where they reached the play-off final.

It was a massive turnover in the summer after losing Paul Hurst to Ipswich, and a lot of key players.

Askey has signed 16 players, on paper he has a talented squad but they’ve not gelled and settled as fans would’ve hoped.

Still, the home form is decent (one defeat, opening day) and none of the five league defeats have been by more than the odd goal.

Askey wants to play expansive football, giving freedom to his players, but some selection decisions have been questioned.

What system will Shrewsbury play?

John Askey’s favoured system is 4-3-3. This is the formation we’ve seen mostly this season and one Town play best in.

Last week at Fleetwood, where they lost 2-1 after a disastrous first half, they lined up 4-4-2 and the boss admitted he made a mistake. They’ve also tried 3-5-2 (winning 6-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy) but I think they’ll revert to 4-3-3.

Who are Shrewsbury's dangermen?

Shaun Whalley. Double figures for goals and assists last season from the right wing and he's started well again this season.

Top scorer is striker Lee Angol, with four goals this term, but he was left out of last weekend’s defeat at Fleetwood. I would expect him to be back in.