Shrewsbury Town kick-off the 2019/20 campaign with a tricky fixture against promotion hopefuls Portsmouth.
The wait is finally over. After months of planning and preparation, Sam Ricketts begins his first full season in charge of Shrewsbury Town.
A raft of summer signings are all waiting in the wings to feature. Donald Love, Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Steve Morison, Daniel Udoh, Luke McCormick, Aaron Pierre, Ryan Giles, and Max O’Leary are expected to make their debuts.
Goalkeeper Joe Murphy is struggling with a foot injury, and with Sam Ricketts allowing Cameron Gregory to join Kidderminster on loan, Town may not field a substitute keeper.
Anthony Grant has been banished from the first team for an unspecified reason, and is not expected to feature for the club again.
Former Wolves duo Dave Edwards and Scott Golbourne have overcome their respective injuries, that kept them out at the back end of last season.
Talented youngster Ryan Sears remains out with cruciate ligament damage, and Lenell John-Lewis is absent with a similar injury.
Goals courtesy of Shaun Whalley and Stefan Payne gave Shrewsbury’s last home victory against Pompey in December 2017.
Town have lost just one of the last seven meetings between these sides, but did fall to a 2-0 defeat in March this year.
The visitors have also been busy in the transfer market. Paul Downing, Ryan Williams, Ellis Harrison, Ross McCrorie, Sean Raggett, John Marquis, and Marcus Harness have all been drafted in by Kenny Jackett.
However, James Bolton (groin), signed from Town earlier in the summer, could only be fit enough for the bench.
Sean Raggett (elbow) and Ryan Williams (calf) are expected to have to wait longer to make their debuts. Jack Whatmough is side-lined with a knee problem.
Portsmouth lost key due Matt Clarke (Brighton) and Jamal Lowe (Wigan), but recouped £5 million for Clarke and an undisclosed fee for Lowe.
Possible Line Ups
Shrewsbury Town (3-5-2)
25. O’Leary, 2. Pierre, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 5. Williams, 17. Love, 16. Vincelot, McCormick, 8. Norburn, 11. Giles, 10. Okenabirhie, 20. Morison
Subs: 3. Golbourne, 4. Edwards, 6. Beckles, 7. Whalley, 15. Walker, 23. Udoh, 28. Laurent
1. MacGillivray, 2. Walkes, 5. Downing, 6. Burgess, 3. Brown, 26. Evans, 15. McCrorie, 4. Naylor, 33. Close, 11. Curtis, 10. Marquis
Subs: 9. Hawkins, 13. Bolton, 17. Morris, 19. Harness, 21. McGee, 22. Harrison, 31. Casey
Other League One Fixtures
AFC Wimbledon V Rotherham
Blackpool V Bristol Rovers
Bury P – P (financial constraints)
Coventry V Southend
Doncaster V Gillingham
Lincoln V Accrington
Peterborough V Fleetwood
Sunderland V Oxford
Tranmere V Rochdale
Wycombe V Bolton