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Rupert Wyman 16th Dec 2008 - 10:24

Shrews to fly past Seagulls

Paul Simpson's Shrewsbury entertain Micky Adams' Brighton tonight in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern semi-final live on Sky Sports 1.

The two sides may be a league apart but as things stand there are only seven places between them in the football pyramid as League 1 Brighton are struggling down in 20th whilst Shrewsbury are flying high in third in League 2.

In the summer Simpson's side spent big, in League 2 terms, by acquiring striker Grant Holt from Nottingham Forest for a club-record £170,000.

Holt has already proved his worth, netting 18 times in all competitions so far this season. He can be backed at 9/2 to score the first goal and 6/5 to score at anytime this evening at the Prostar Stadium.

During the summer break Salop also brought in striker Richard Walker on-loan from Bristol Rovers and experienced defender Graham Coughlan amongst others.

As a result of these signings Shrewsbury look well placed to secure promotion to the third tier for the first time since 1996/97 season.

It has been Shrewsbury's home form that has been especially impressive, in their ten league matches at home they have won eight, drawn one and lost one.

With that in mind the 6/5 about a home victory in tonight's southern semi-final looks extremely generous. The draw is available at 5/2.

Brighton, on the other hand, are available at 21/10, yet the Seagulls are without a win in six matches.

Micky Adams returned to the south coast managerial hotseat in the summer, a move that was widely welcolmed after Adams had a successful previous spell in charge of Albion, leading the side to the League 2 title in 2001.

However, this time around Adams has struggled for results. The Seagulls are facing a battle against relegation as they currently sit just one point outside the drop zone.

Top scorer Glenn Murray is doubtful for tonight's clash so it is probably best to avoid him in the goal scorer markets at 7/1 to score first and 2/1 anytime. A better bet is probably strike partner Nicky Forster. The ex-Reading front man has seven goals to his name this season and can be backed at the same prices as Murray.

Neither side has ever won this competition or any form of it, with all the different sponsors over the years. Shrewsbury have come the closest of the two sides, losing the final at Wembley to Rotherham in 1996.

The competition is much-maligned by fans, and in all probablility some managers while players find it a nuisance at times. But, when you reach this stage of the competition, it is worth taking seriously. So both teams should be going all-out for victory tonight despite their respective battles in their leagues, as it is an ideal opportunity to get the chance to play at the hallowed turf of Wembley.

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