All clues point to Shrews
For most of this season, the value seekers have been dying to oppose Crawley. Now the patience of those who have applied some restraint could be rewarded in the coming weeks because the Red Devils appear to be a fading force in the League Two promotion race, yet the layers are slow to cotton on.
Injuries and transfers have decimated the Sussex outfit in recent weeks - not necessarily in terms of numbers but certainly in terms of cohesion and continuity - and now they head to Shrewsbury for Monday's live televised game at the New Meadow minus four of the players who have been instrumental in them setting high standards up to this point.
Strikers Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett were responsible for 25 of their 53 league goals before securing recent moves to Bournemouth and Peterborough respectively, while Crawley have lost five out of eight matches without Scott Shearer between the sticks and he'll be missing for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Throw in a broken foot for David Hunt, which has forced Steve Evans to reshuffle his pack by moving the ever-present Kyle McFadzean from defence into midfield and you get some idea of the disarray in the visiting camp.
Back Shrewsbury to beat Crawley at 7/4
Evans hasn't been slow to find replacements and bulk the numbers up with names of fine pedigree but the Red Devils have only managed one win in their last five matches and we sense the full extent of their lost momentum hasn't yet been realised.
As such, we see terrific value in the 7/4 quote about a consistent Shrewsbury side demonstrating why they boast such an incredible home record.
The Shrews are unbeaten in 16 home matches, winning 13, and though they did taste defeat in their last game at Swindon, they ran the Robins much closer than any other team has since the turn of the year, including Crawley.
The Red Devils were comfortably brushed aside in a 3-0 defeat at the County Ground a fortnight ago but Graham Turner's men were the better team for 45 minutes last Tuesday and were unfortunate on the balance of the 90 to finish up on the end of a 2-1 reverse.
The situation at the top of the table shows a game of huge importance to both sides with Shrewsbury a point ahead of Crawley having played two games more. Based on that simple fact alone, this shouldn't really be an each-of-two contest.
The case for supporting Salop only intensifies when you then consider the circumstantial evidence and reflect on that superb home record.
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