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In a pre-season that sees us play just once in front of spectators, it means that tonight we get that first chance to see a Burnley team since new manager Vincent Kompany took over when we make our first ever visit to Shrewsbury Town’s Montgomery Waters Meadow at first team level.

Shrewsbury moved into their new home from Gay Meadow in the summer of 2007 and our only game there was a reserve team fixture in January 2011 that ended in a somewhat stale 0-0 draw with Burnley fielding an experienced team including Richard Eckersley, David Edgar, Brian Easton, Marvin Bartley and Charlie Austin alongside trialist Shaun Williams who has gone on to play almost 400 league games for MK, Millwall and Portsmouth.

Tonight, it’s unlikely that we will have any trialists but, at the time of writing, we could get a first glimpse of up to six new signings. Since Kompany came in, we’ve added those six players – defenders Luke McNally, CJ Egan-Riley and Taylor Harwood-Bellis and midfielders Scott Twine, Samuel Bastien and Josh Cullen – and it’s always one of the highlights of pre-season being given a first opportunity to see new signings in action.

It really is going into the unknown. Most of us know very little about the new players with just Harwood-Bellis (for Blackburn and Stoke) and Cullen (Charlton) having played in the Championship previously. McNally (Oxford) and Twine (MK) have both played in League One but Bastien will be playing in England for the first time while Egan-Riley’s first team league experience is one late substitute appearance for Manchester City in May.

A match preview usually takes a look at what the manager and a player have said in a pre-match press conference, but there has been little word from the club this week regarding this game as the players have continued to work to full match fitness and it would be pure folly to try and hazard a guess at what the team might be. I’d expect to see a number of changes made during the game and that will give us every opportunity to see our new players and try to form some opinions on how we are likely to play under Kompany’s management.

There are no former Burnley players at Shrewsbury for us to see in action but there will be two familiar faces in the home team technical area. Steve Cotterill is their manager. The former Burnley boss has been in charge there since November 2020 although he missed much of the remainder of the 2020/21 season as he fought Covid-19 in hospital. Now recovered, his team ended last season in 18th place, some ten points clear of relegation. Alongside Cotterill will be Brian Jensen who has been goalkeeping coach now at Shrewsbury since the summer of 2018 having moved from Bury.

Tonight’s opponents have made six signings themselves. Jordan Shipley has arrived from Coventry with Tom Bayliss, Chey Dunkley and Aiden O’Brien arriving from Preston, Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth respectively. They’ve also brought in Julien Dacosta and Taylor Moore in loan deals from Coventry and Bristol City. Dunkley once played in Burnley colours just over ten years ago when he played as a trialist in a 3-1 home win against Tranmere in the Central League in April 2012. On a night when our goalkeeper played against us, we included five trialists. Goalkeeper Nick Liversedge was the only one of the five we signed.

To complete the preview, we have to go back to 1st April 1997 for our last game at first team level at Shrewsbury. That was at their old Gay Meadow ground. We had been beaten by Luton at home in a crucial game three days earlier but looked set to win this game when Paul Barnes gave us the lead on 74 minutes. It was not to be; a Chris Brass own goal levelled things for the home team before Dean Spink scored their winner with just four minutes remaining to leave the Clarets outside the top six.

 

 

 

 

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