PAUL Merson, the former Arsenal and England star, has saluted the contribution of manager Graham Turner to Shrewsbury Town’s exciting promotion challenge.
Having had a short stint in management himself at Walsall, Merson is well aware how tough a role it can be.
And that’s why he continues to be so impressed at Turner’s longevity, with Merson insisting he has a healthy respect for the vastly experienced Shrewsbury boss.
“He’s top drawer,” Merson told the Chronicle during a visit to the Greenhous Meadow last weekend. “He’s been around a long time and just look at the job he’s doing here.
“You come to this club and it’s not really a League Two club. The set-up is like a Championship club.
“Hopefully they can get up this year and they won’t have to go through the play-offs.”
Merson was at the Meadow last Saturday night as guest speaker at Shrewsbury-based Haughmond FC’s annual sportsman’s dinner.
He played at Gay Meadow during his glory days as an Arsenal regular and stressed how impressed he was with Shrewsbury’s current home.
“I’ve been to the stadium before and it’s a lovely, lovely set-up,” he said.
“They deserve to be at least in the league above.
“At the moment it’s so far so good.”
Merson keeps tabs on all levels of the game in his role as a pundit for Sky Television’s Soccer Saturday programme and, speaking a few hours after the final whistle sounded on Town’s 1-0 victory at Morecambe, he insisted Shrewsbury are well placed to push for automatic promotion.
“My job is football so I follow everything closely,” he added.
“Shrewsbury had a great result at Morecambe but it didn’t help with Torquay coming back against Port Vale who also had a man sent off.
“It’s swings and roundabouts, but if Shrewsbury keep on winning their games then they will be okay.”