Joe Jacobson feels the hurt after PNE defeat
Defender Joe Jacobson says he feels the fans hurt after Easter Monday's defeat at Preston North End left Shrewsbury Town on the brink of relegation.
The five-two defeat at Deepdale was Town's heaviest of the season, and with just two games remaining, Mike Jackson's side find themselves six points adrift of safety.
Jacobson, who slotted in at centre-half in the absence of Tamika Mkandawire and Dave Winfield, admits the situation is looking bleak and has outlined his own personal pain over Shrewsbury's fortunes.
"I'm heartbroken," he said. "You don't become a footballer to be in these situations. I haven't been before, and don't intend to go through it again. It's a horrible feeling.
"I feel for the fans. I'm a football supporter myself. I love what I do. When I join a club, I'm 100% committed to them and I feel their pain too. I'm a proud person, it's my profession and it's embarrassing to be in this position. The fans have been unbelievable, and they've stuck with us throughout the season. We took nearly 1000 to Tranmere the other week and I can't thank them enough. Hopefully they'll be there next week to motivate us to a win. We haven't given them enough to cheer about and they've still come back in their droves."
The former Accrington Stanley defender admits Town face a near impossible task to stay in League One but says the players will do all they can to restore some pride in the games against Peterborough United and Gillingham.
"It's very unlikely we'll stay up," he admitted. "It's out of our hands. We need to win both and hope other teams lose their games. It's still possible but it's going to be very difficult. Peterborough are in the play-offs and may need to win to confirm their position in the top six. We need to have pride and walk out on the pitch and give everything. If you can't do that every week, whatever the situation, you don't deserve to be a footballer. We're all fortunate with the job that we do and putting in 100% is the minimum we should give every week."
Preston themselves are in the play-offs and put on a clinical attacking display against Town, and Jacobson says he had few complaints that the better team won.
"They are a very good team, one of the best we've played this season. They've got players like Craig Davies and Joe Garner on the bench who've scored goals for them - that's why they're in the position they're in. We tried to change the system at the start but it didn't really work. We had spells when we were in the game, we had chances and situations but couldn't keep them out at the other end. It was a disappointing day for us."
Asked why Town have struggled this season, Jacobson admitted everyone had to take collective responsibility and it would be unfair to apportion blame to one individual.
"Not enough players have performed this season to their maximum potential," he said. "If you don't have seven, eight or nine winning their battles every week and performing, you wont win games. We've not won enough games or scored enough goals. It's not just the strikers, it's the whole team. Everyone has to look at themselves and think 'have I done enough?' Not many can say, hand on heart, they've performed as well as they should do or could do. We've known in-house that we can get out of it but we haven't performed when it really mattered."