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Dec 26, 2021 at 3pm UK
FleetwoodFleetwood Town
ShrewsburyShrewsbury Town
FT(HT: 0-0)
Bowman (49'), Vela (72'), Udoh (80')
Leahy (40'), Udoh (63')

Preview: Fleetwood Town vs. Shrewsbury Town - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Fleetwood Town vs. Shrewsbury Town - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's League One clash between Fleetwood Town and Shrewsbury Town, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Both Fleetwood Town and Shrewsbury Town can put a little distance between themselves and the relegation zone when they face each other in League One action on Boxing Day from Highbury Stadium.

The Cod Army picked up just their second point away from home in their previous three matches, drawing Morecambe 0-0, while the Shrews were able to end a two-game losing streak with a convincing 3-1 win over Cheltenham Town.

Match preview

A coaching change at Fleetwood has reversed the club's fortunes for the time being, suffering only one defeat in league play under Stephen Crainey.

With Crainey officially being confirmed as the head coach until the end of this campaign, there is now clarity within this team that was not certain under his predecessor Simon Grayson, who lost six of his final seven matches in charge before being sacked in November.

The 40-year-old former Scottish international left-back, who served as academy coach before moving up with the senior side, has been able to navigate this team through a difficult stretch defensively, one which saw them concede 17 goals in their six matches played in all competitions before his promotion.

They did not begin this month the way that they had hoped, losing 5-1 to Accrington Stanley, but this young group have shown plenty of resolve since that thumping, collecting clean sheets in two of their previous three league encounters.

While the quality up front was missing last Sunday, Crainey was thoroughly impressed by how compact and composed his players were coming back in transition, praising them for how well they applied themselves against Morecambe.

Fleetwood should be confident in their ability to score at home, finding the back of the net five times in their last two league matches played at Highbury Stadium, which is as many goals as they were able to produce in their previous four games played in all competitions.

Last weekend, Shrewsbury made a big statement, winning their second straight match on home soil, overcoming their share of setbacks to come out on top.

They started well, going in front after 10 minutes of play, but really seemed to come together in the second half when the match was level at one and the Shrews were reduced to 10-men.

The red card against them appeared to be like a tonic for this side, who scored three minutes into the second half, before putting the match to bed with a third, 12 minutes from the end, as they scored multiple goals in a league fixture for the first time since putting four past Cambridge United in October.

Steve Cotterill has emphasized to his team the importance of maintaining your composure late in games, which before their win last Saturday had been a trouble spot for them, conceding a winner to Doncaster in the 79th minute and another one a few days earlier in injury time at Wigan Athletic.

Last weekend their 57-year-old boss noted how impressed he was with the structure and organization that his players showed against the team that he featured for at the start of his playing career.

Their next challenge will be to win on the road, something that this team have failed to do so far in this campaign, collecting only two points away from home.

Fleetwood Town League One form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Fleetwood Town form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Shrewsbury Town League One form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Shrewsbury Town form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

The Fleetwood back four of Carl Johnston, Tom Clarke, Conor McLaughlin and Danny Andrew were able to hold Morecambe to only one shot on target last Saturday as Alex Cairns collected his second clean sheet in his previous three league fixtures.

Bradley Halliday is still a few months away from returning from a cruciate ligament rupture, while James Hill will likely sit this one out with an unknown injury.

Gerard Garner leads the team with seven goals this season, but midfielder Harrison Biggins is starting to come alive for them, finding the back of the net three times in his last three games, while Paddy Lane assisted twice in their 2-1 victory over Gillingham.

Daniel Udoh continues to significantly impact the Shrews as the Nigerian striker notched a brace in their 3-1 win over Cheltenham, as he has five goals and two assists in his previous seven matches played in all competitions.

Tom Bloxham was red-carded in the 40th minute last weekend and will not be available for this game, so we may see Ryan Bowman start alongside Udoh in the attack with the 30-year-old scoring five goals domestically this season, one back of Udoh for the team lead.

There was only one new face in the Shrews' starting 11 versus the Robins from the team who began their previous match, as David Davis replaced Rekeil Pyke in midfield.

Fleetwood Town possible starting lineup:
Cairns; Andrew, McLaughlin, Clarke, C. Johnston; Morton, Biggins, Matete, Lane, Conn-Clarke; Garner

Shrewsbury Town possible starting lineup:
Maroisi; Pennington, Leahy, Nurse; Leshabela, Bennett, Davis, Vela, Ogbeta; Udoh, Bowman

We say: Fleetwood Town 1-0 Shrewsbury Town

As well as The Shrews performed last weekend when they were down a man, it is too early to tell if they have turned the corner based on one match, whereas Fleetwood have shown much more consistency since the appointment of Crainey.

The Fleetwood defence have improved tremendously in their last three matches, and with Shrewsbury missing Bloxham, that should allow The Cod Army to focus more on slowing down Udoh.

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