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Thursday, 24 July 2008

If money talks, Shrewsbury Town will win League Two

Long seen as one of the most unfashionable clubs in English football, Shrewsbury Town approach the new season with the unfamiliar weight of expectation on their back as they look to mount a promotion challenege..

With Paul Simpson set for his first full campaign in charge and Shrewsbury now firmly established in the newly-title Prostar Stadium, named after a lucrative sponsorship deal with the club's kit manufacturer, the 18th-place finish in League Two last season will not be tolerated this time around.

Simpson made his name with Carlisle United at a similar level and after an ill-fated spell as Preston North End manager, will be keen to restore his reputation as one of the game's brightest young managerial talents.

A host of summer signings included the £170,000 club record purchase of Nottingham Forest striker Grant Holt, who made an immediate impact with two goals on his home debut in this week's friendly against West Bromwich Albion, after a training camp in Spain helped the new-look squad blend together.

"I'm not giving any clues, but you don't need to be a genius to work out we've got some strong players," Simpson told BBC Radio Shropshire in the wake of a 2-2 draw against the Premier League newcomers.

"But we've got good options. You need that to have a real chance of success."

Punters and bookmakers alike have taken note of the developments in Shropshire, with Shrewsbury's price to win League Two cut drastically by one bookmaker.

bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth said: "Simpson has been busy in the transfer market and punters haven’t been slow in jumping on the Shrewsbury bandwagon.

"Sheer weight of money has seen their price drop from 28/1 into 8/1 over the last few weeks and, in Grant Holt and Richard Walker, they have the best strikeforce in the division.

"It’s easy to read too much into friendlies, but having seen their last two outings, Simpson’s new look side have every chance of being in the shake up."

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