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The Late Flurry Of Activity: STFC’s Deadline Day

February 2, 2011

The English transfer headlines were inevitably the realm of the elite clubs of the Premier League but while arguably obscene amounts of money were trading hands at the top of the game, lower leagues in the English pyramid saw a hive of transfer activity from various clubs perhaps none more than League 2 promotion-hopefuls Shrewsbury Town.

Shrewsbury Town Football Club

Graham Turner had told the Salop faithful on multiple occasions over the previous month via his programme notes that he was hoping to add one or two to the squad but very few would have expected the volume of deals that the club would conclude come transfer deadline day. It was known for the week leading up that Shrewsbury were looking to sign Coventry’s on-loan defender Jermaine Grandison on a permanent basis and this would turn out to be the first concluded deal of the day for the Shrews. The permanent acquisition of Grandison led to the mutual agreement to release right back Dean Holden from his contract. Aware of the Grandison situation, Holden’s agent had been touting him to several clubs the week previous, which only solidified the inevitable decision for Turner to release the defender. To further the view that it was a departure that Turner wanted, Shrewsbury acquired a further right-sided defender in the shape of Kelvin Lomax following his release from Oldham, on a 6-month contract.

The final minutes of the transfer window saw Shrewsbury Town acquire Torquay’s want-away midfielder Nicky Wroe on an undisclosed fee. The move for Wroe, who had been on the transfer list at the Gulls since October, saw Jake Robinson go in the opposite direction on a loan deal. Robinson had started the season as first-choice on the Town frontline alongside Matt Harrold before poor-form and the emergence of youngster Tom Bradshaw had reduced the former Brighton man to cameo appearances from the bench.

No Graham Turner transfer-spree is complete until there is at least one if not several loan acquisitions. In this case there would be three of them, all from the reserve teams of Premier League clubs. Goalkeeper Lee Nicholls was acquired from Wigan on an initial month’s loan to fill the gap made by the departure of Shrewsbury’s 3rd choice keeper Hakan Duyan to Turkish side Gaziantepspor. Young defender Paul Downing arrived from West Bromwich Albion, that too a month’s loan as was the deal to bring Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder David Davis to the Greenhous Meadow.

Ambitious: Shropshire's leading club

Like most clubs less than 24 hours after the winter transfer window closed, Shrewsbury would have a match on their hands: a home tie against Burton Albion. However of the new arrivals only David Davis’ registration had gone through in time for him to feature in the game. Davis started from the outset and provided the centre of the Shrews’ midfield with an energy that has been lacking over the previous weeks, maintaining defensive responsibilities when Jermaine Grandison would overlap on the right as well as covering some of right-winger Jon Taylor’s defensive duties thereby enabling Taylor to play higher up the pitch. This of course was of great benefit to the home side as Taylor would score two of Shrewsbury’s three goals in a morale-boosting 3-0 win. Davis would be replaced with some 10 minutes of the game to go by a relative Shrewsbury veteran in the form of Craig Disley. Town’s attacking play subsequently slowed in pace with Grandison and Taylor taking it in turn to humiliate the Brewers unlucky left-back. Jermaine Grandison provided further justification of his permanent acquisition, attacking and defending well. He did have some moments of over-exuberance (a fair few step-overs, bamboozling some of the opposition while occasionally even bamboozling himself). However, the showboating combined with his constant willingness to attack and relative assuredness in defence, will add weight to the likelihood of him becoming a firm fans favourite at the Greenhous Meadow. It’s worth noting that while Shrewsbury hosted Burton, Jake Robinson made his debut for Torquay, opening the scoring in the game in fact before Torquay succumbed to a 3-1 home defeat to struggling Hereford. His debut may be at a price to the Gulls as his eligibility to have played in the tie has been questioned as it is believed he was fielded unregistered, meaning that Torquay may face sanction in some capacity by the Football League.

Graham Turner: League 1 in his sights

Before last night’s game with Burton, Shrewsbury had endured a rather torrid run of form, picking up ten points from a possible thirty on offer. Their victory over Burton, while hopefully restoring confidence to a side that had looked bereft of it in the past month, has put them back in to the play-off places, a place Shrewsbury have appeared rather accustomed to over the years. Whether or not Shrewsbury can get that elusive promotion is open to debate but it is hoped that Graham Turner will be the man to lead them there this season. Not without help from those trusty loan dealings of course.


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