Paul Hurst gives his thoughts ahead of the game with Brackley
Shrewsbury Town travel to Brackley Town tonight for their first pre-season friendly on English soil.
The Town squad spent last week in Portugal where they were training three times a day and ended the tour with a 2-0 win over Ebbsfleet on Saturday.
Brackley currently play in the National League North where they finished 7th last season and Manager Paul Hurst believes it will be another good early pre-season test.
“I think it’s against good opposition that will be competitive”, said Paul.
“They play at a level that I know quite well and I know that they’ve got some good players there. They will be right at it I’m sure, so although we might be a couple of leagues higher I’m expecting a really tough game.
“I don’t think we will be struggling with heat exhaustion or anything today, I’m more worried about it being waterlogged with the rain today, but hopefully it should be a nice surface and a good game.”
With pre-season still in its early stages, Hurst confirmed that the game would primarily be seen as a fitness exercise.
“The majority will be playing 45 minutes”, Paul admitted.
“It’s another game where there is a big emphasis on the fitness side, getting back into the swing of things and we are training before it, which you wouldn’t normally do for a game.
“It’s still relatively early in pre-season. There was a lot of hard work done in Portugal, but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done.”
Whilst Paul acknowledges that fitness is more important that wins at this time in pre-season, he believes that competition in the squad should bring out the best in players.
“The big thing I said to the players on Saturday was that it’s competition time”, Hurst said.
“I looked at some of the changes I could make at half-time and straight away you start toying with the idea of a possible line-up and realise that there is a lot of competition.
“If I was one of those players then I would realise that myself and want to impress every time they get an opportunity. There’s a lot of lads here that would be very hopeful of starting, but they’ve got to earn that right and these pre-season games now come pretty thick and fast.
“The message to the players is don’t just hang around thinking that in a couple of weeks you will step up because we want it now and if they do that then they have the best chance of being in the team for the Northampton game.”
Meanwhile, Paul confirmed that there was some good news on the injury front with Shaun Rowley’s knee injury not looking as bad as first feared.
“He had a scan yesterday and it revealed certain damage, but overall it was a positive”, Paul continued.
“It’s a bit of a relief in truth. The latest we’ve just had from Skitty is that he could be a couple of weeks away before he can really join in again, which would be fantastic.
“At this moment in time it looks like an operation isn’t going to be required and fingers crossed it’s a positive for Shaun and for us.”