Date:Thursday March 26 2009
Wycombe Wanderers will hope to put last week's dreadful performance against Rochdale behind them and rekindle their faltering promotion challenge when they take on poor travellers Shrewsbury Town at Adams Park on Saturday.
Shrewsbury are currently 7th in League Two with 59 points from 39 games played, with only 14 of those points having been collected away from home.
They won their first away game of the season at Exeter on 16th August, but since then have failed to register a single league victory on their travels in 18 attempts. Every other team in the division has won more away games than the Shrews.
Despite their apparent aversion to playing away from home, the Shrews are clinging onto a play-off spot by virtue of their superb record at the New Meadow, where they have won 14 of their 20 league games.
They may be poor travellers, but Shrews' manager Paul Simpson will no doubt remind his players of the JP Trophy game at Adams Park earlier this season when they embarrassed Wycombe, hammering them 7-0 with striker Grant Holt helping himself to 5 goals.
Their recent league results have been just as bad as Wycombe's, with both sides taking only 7 points from their last 7 games.
During that time the Shrews have suffered defeats at Luton (3-1) and Macclesfield (3-0), drawn with Exeter, beaten Notts County 3-2 and then drawn three successive games against Aldershot, Gillingham and Morecambe.
Shrewsbury have kept 16 clean sheets in their 39 league games.
They have scored 53 league goals (14 away from home) and have conceded 37 (23 away from home).
16 different players have scored for the Shrews in all competitions.
Top Goal Scorers
Striker: Grant Holt - 26
Midfielder: Ben Davies - 11
Striker: Richard Walker - 6
Defender: Graham Coughlan - 5
Wycombe Wanderers are currently 4th in the league with 63 points from 37 games played, 34 of those points having been won on their home turf at Adams Park.
The Chairboys are 7 points behind leaders Brentford but have 1 game in hand.
Wycombe finally dropped out of the top-three last Saturday following a home defeat to promotion rivals Rochdale. It was just a matter of time really, with the Chairboys' form since mid-season making them look a pale imitation of the team that clinically forged a path to the top of the table before Christmas.
With games in hand over all the teams around them, there is still hope that a late-season burst of good form will see Wycombe gain automatic promotion. However, games in hand mean nothing if you don't convert them into points and the Chairboys will have to quickly improve their 2009 average of just 1.2 points per game.
As with Shrewsbury, Wycombe have only won once in their last 7 games.
During this period, The Chairboys have drawn with Rotherham, Morecambe, Chesterfield and Brentford, beaten lowly Chester 2-0 and suffered 1-0 defeats at the hands of Lincoln City and Rochdale.
Wycombe have kept an impressive 18 clean sheets in their 37 league games and boast the best defensive record in the division.
They have scored 43 league goals (25 at home) and have conceded 26 (12 at home).
14 different players have scored for Wycombe in all competitions this season.
Top Goal Scorers
Striker: Matt Harrold - 12
Midfielder: Chris Zebroski - 6
Striker: Jon-Paul Pittman - 3
Midfielder: Matty Phillips - 3
Current League Form
Wycombe:....Played:-14, Points:-17, Average:-1.21 Pts per game.
Shrewsbury:.Played:-16, Points:-22, Average:-1.38 Pts per game
Last Five League Games
Wycombe:....WDLDL - 5 points
Shrewsbury: DWDDD - 7 points
Last Five Home Games
Wycombe:.WDWDL - 8 points
Last Five Away Games
Shrewsbury:.LLLDD - 2 points
Earlier this season the Shrews came to Adams Park and comfortably beat Wycombe 7-0 in the JP Trophy. In the league encounter at the New Meadow a few months later, the Chairboys extracted a measure of revenge with a 1-0 win courtesy of a Matt Harrold header.
Last season the two sides drew 1-1 at Adams Park with Scott McGleish equalising for the Blues after Colin Murdock had given Shrewsbury the lead. In the return match, a John Sutton goal gave the Blues a 1-0 win at the New Meadow.
Altogether the two sides have met on 19 occasions in all competitions with 8 wins for Wycombe, 2 for Shrewsbury and 9 draws.
Previous Meetings at Adams Park
1993/94: Lg2 Wycombe 1 Shrewsbury 1
1994/95: Lg1 Wycombe 1 Shrewsbury 0
1995/96: Lg1 Wycombe 2 Shrewsbury 0
1996/97: Lg1 Wycombe 3 Shrewsbury 0
2004/05: Lg2 Wycombe 1 Shrewsbury 1
2005/06: Lg2 Wycombe 2 Shrewsbury 0
2006/07: Lg2 Wycombe 1 Shrewsbury 1
2007/08: Lg2 Wycombe 1 Shrewsbury 1
2008/09: JpT Wycombe 0 Shrewsbury 7
The Referee for this match is Mr. Grant Hegley from Hertfordshire.
Mr Hegley has been a National List referee since 2001. His most recent Wycombe game was the 1-0 win over Lincoln City at Adams Park last August. So far this season he's overseen 30 games and has issued 41 yellow cards and 2 reds.
Wycombe Team News
David McCracken is doubtful with a groin injury.
Stuart Beavon is doubtful with a groin injury.
Tommy Doherty is suspended for this game.
Frank Sinclair may feature following his signing from Lincoln.
Well here we go again. We may be out of the top-three and performing like eleven complete strangers, but we've still got everything to play for. With nine games left for us and only seven for most of our rivals, this is a truly golden opportunity to finally win promotion and explore the wonders of League One next season.
Enough time has passed since last Saturday's capitulation against Rochdale for everyone to be optimistic again. As each game approaches, we all hope it will be the one that re-ignites whatever it was that burned brightly earlier in the season. The trouble is we're running out of games and it just isn't happening.
With six of the top seven teams playing each other this Saturday, now would be a great time to take all three points. But if we don't win, I hope we can at least say we gave Shrewsbury more of a game than we did Rochdale.
Wycombe 1 Shrewsbury 1
If I predict a win...we won't win.
Weekend Rivals Watch
Brentford (1st) are at home to Gillingham (3rd).
Rochdale (2nd) are at home to Exeter (6th).
Bury (5th) are at home to Bournemouth (21st).
Date:Thursday March 26 2009
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