Shrewsbury v Blackburn: Rovers must up their game

Payne: a goal every 51 minutes – shropshirestar.com

Blackburn have a good squad on paper but it has taken away games against the better sides, Scunthorpe and Bradford, to drag the more dogged performances out of them.

When they have played games they ‘should’ win, they have not quite matched the work rate of the opposition, as we saw on Saturday. Rovers lost 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon but it could have been more without one or two good saves from David Raya.

They cannot be as slow against Shrewsbury, who play with heart and determination every week. Salop haven’t been great in every game so far, but they work hard for one another and can create at any moment through the wide play of Shaun Whalley and Alex Rodman.

Both fashion openings for Stefan Payne, who averages one goal every 51 minutes – the best record for that metric in the entire EFL. Payne worries defenders with his power and bravery, both evidenced by his goal at Oldham last week. That goal forced him off with an injury after 21 minutes but Shrewsbury fans will be pleased to learn that he will be fit to play this weekend.

Blackburn need to match Payne’s speed in their defensive third and react quickly to danger, which we didn’t see for the goal they conceded last week. Derrick Williams was out of position and jogged back, while the centre-backs ball-watched as the opposing striker took the shot. Charlie Mulgrew has had his fitness problems in the last couple of weeks while Elliott Ward may no longer have the legs, both vulnerable to pace.

A man who could provide some pace for Blackburn is Harry Chapman, who has looked bright so far in five league appearances from the bench. He might be handed a start, as might Bradley Dack, who is capable of a pinpoint delivery.

Whichever attacking players Tony Mowbray picks though will have to get the better of Aristote Nsiala and Mat Sadler. The powerful Nsiala and the intelligent Sadler have played every minute of Salop’s league campaign thus far, helping them to keep four clean sheets in eight games.

Blackburn have already had three off-days against sides they should be beating – now they need another big game performance.

The Football Lab’s Verdict: 1-1