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In opposition: Shrewsbury Town - ones to watch

10 December 2021

Shrewsbury Town are a side with plenty of threats.

Ryan Bowman found his scoring touch following a hat-trick performance towards the close of October, helping Salop begin to turn things around after a challenging start to the 2021/22 season which saw them lose four on the bounce.

A 2-1 win at home to Gillingham in late August saw them pick up their first league points of the campaign and sparked a much better run. Bowman leads Salop’s goal-scoring with eight this season, followed by Daniel Udoh (6), Luke Leahy (5) and Tom Bloxham (3). Udoh also has a team-high five assists, while three other players have three assists each.

 

Elliott Bennett

The older brother of former Doncaster Rovers midfielder Kyle Bennett, winger/right back Elliott Bennett arrived at Shrewsbury Town in June 2021 singing a one-year deal with Salop after an illustrious five-year term at EFL Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

While at Blackburn Rovers, Bennett was named a team captain for the 2019/20 season, scored more than 10 goals and appearing in more than 185 games. Prior to his stint with Blackburn Rovers, Bennett spent five seasons (2011-16) with Norwich City, mixed with loan spells at Brighton & Hove Albion (2014) and Bristol City (2015).

Aside from Blackburn Rovers, the most appearances for a club Bennett served was his initial period on the south coast with Brighton & Hove Albion (2009-11), where he played in more than 90 games for the Seagulls. Bennett’s career began with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2007 while never featuring in a league match for Wolves he had successful loan spells at Crewe Alexndra and Bury.

Bennett has helped captain Salop in seven games so far, scoring a goal and providing three assists. He has delivered a team-high 125 crosses, picked up 29 interceptions and recorded a team-most 30 tackles won in defence. In 2015, he was called up to the Jamaican National Team for two friendlies against Venezuela and Cuba.

 

Ryan Bowman

A native of Carlisle, Ryan Bowman began what was soon to be an extensive professional career in the Carlisle United youth system, before then signing his first professional contract with his hometown club in 2009.

In the next two years, he featured in just nine games and spent time out on loan which prompted Bowman to leave the club. He moved five times in the next fives seasons turning out for Darlington, Hereford United, York City, Torquay United and Gateshead.

In August 2016, he signed a three-year deal with Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League. He played 70 games scoring double-digit goals for the cub in the process. After spending the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons at Exeter City, Bowman inked a two-year deal to join Shrewsbury Town in June 2021.

The former Hereford top goal scorer registered his first Shrewsbury Town hat-trick in October as part of a 4-1 victory at home to Cambridge United. This season, Bowman leads all Salop goal scorers with eight – with the addition of an assist. He is currently converting at a 0.53 goals per shots on target average. He also holds a 53.6% shots on target average, totalling 1.88 shots per game as well.

Bowman exited the field with an injury on Wednesday with Shrewsbury yet to determine if the striker is fit for the weekend.

 

Luke Leahy

A player that can serve as a midfielder and defender on the pitch, Luke Leahy signed a two-year contract to join Shrewsbury Town in July 2021.

After spending the 2011/12 season with Rugby Town, Leahy signed for Falkirk in the Scottish Premiership during the summer of 2012. He spent five seasons at Falkirk (2012-17), featuring in excess of 130 games and scoring more than 11 goals for the club.

Born in Coventry, Leahy returned to England in 2017, signing with Walsall, where he played in more than 90 games and bagged over a handful of goals for the club. After being released by the midlands team at the conclusion of the 2018/19 season, he joined Sky Bet League One team Bristol Rovers in July 2019. He scored his first goal for the club as part of a 1-1 draw with Bromley in a first round tie of the Emirates FA Cup. Despite receiving several offers to try and keep him at the club, Leahy walked away from further negotiations, opting not to sign a new contract in order to leave his options open – one that included his eventual move to Shrewsbury Town. Leahy is currently third in the Salop squad with five goals and three assists, scoring at a 0.22 goals per game.

 

Daniel Udoh

Nigeria international Daniel Udoh joined Shrewsbury Town in May 2019. He had previously spent the 2018/19 season with AFC Telford United in the National League North where he scored 26 goals for the club.

Udoh was born in Nigeria, but his family moved to England at the age of nine, where he joined, first, the Luton Town development squad, before joining the Stevenage Academy. His first contract came by way of Kidderminster Harriers, where he was immediately loaned out. He had loan spells at Worcester City (2014), Wingate & Finchley (2014), North Greenford United (2014-15), Grays Athletic (2015) Hoddesdon Town (2015).

In 2016, Udoh signed with Crewe Alexandra, where he played 15 games.

He made his debut for Shrewsbury Town in August 2019, entering the game as a substitute off the bench, and later scoring an 89th-minute winner in a 2-3 score line away at Accrington Stanley.

So far in 2021/22, Udoh has a team second-most six goals and a team-best five assists, where he averages. He also holds a team second-most 0.58 goal involvement per game. Udoh is hitting the target 39.5% and registering an average of 2 shots per game. He is the most fouled player on the team drawing 31.

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