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FOOTBALL: COWAN BLOW FOR BORO; Play-off hopes hit as on-loan defender signs for Shrewsbury.

Byline: By DEREK BROWN

NUNEATON BOROUGH have lost out in their bid to keep centre-back Gavin Cowan at Manor Park until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old signed for Coca-Cola League Two Shrewsbury Town yesterday on a two-and-a-half year full-time contract, much to the disappointment of Boro chief Roger Ashby.

Cowan has been a revelation since joining Boro on-loan from Canvey Island at the start of January and in 13 outings he's been a major factor in Boro's much improved form that has reaped 27 points in that spell.

"It's a massive blow," said Ashby. "Gavin has been outstanding but he wanted to be full time and Shrewsbury came in with a five-figure offer to Canvey for him and neither his club, Canvey, or the player could refuse.

"The lad's disappointed he's not staying with us but the offer put in front of him by Shrewsbury manager Gary Peters was just too good to turn down.

"But he leaves us with our best wishes and a big thank you for his commitment and discipline. I'm full of admiration for him.

"I cannot speak too highly about Gavin and I just hope I can get someone in with the same qualities and attitude."

Cowan's departure could easily open the way for Steve Farmer, currently out on loan at Gresley Rovers, to return to first team action should Ashby fail to secure the services of another loan centre-back.

"I have a couple of irons in the fire and I shall be speaking with one or two managers today concerning centre halves. Ideally we need someone who could do a job on the left of skipper Neil Moore as Gavin did.

"It's a specialist position and all being well I can do a deal. Farms filled the bill earlier in the season but is not naturally left-footed although he's available and would love the chance to get his place back for the last few games."

DROYLSDEN'S 2-0 defeat of Altrincham last night has taken them in second place and above Boro in Nationwide North by a point with a game in hand.

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BIG LOSS: Gavin Cowan has left Nuneaton Borough to sign for Shrewsbury
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 22, 2005
Words:364
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