Bahrudin Atajic looking to play his part in Town's Great Escape
Bosnian loanee Bahrudin Atajic says he's hopeful of playing more of a role in Shrewsbury Town's final six games, as the club look to secure League One safety.
The 20 year old Celtic striker has only started one match for Town so far, in the one-all draw with Brentford in February.
He played the remaining 35 minutes of Saturday's defeat at Walsall, and now wants to prove to manager Mike Jackson he's worthy of a place in the starting XI for this weekend's crucial encounter with relegation rivals Stevenage at the Greenhous Meadow.
"It's the managers decision as to who he wants to play, but I'm ready," he declared. "You show him what you can do through training and working hard. I would like to start, every player does. I need to get some starts to help my development. In my opinion, I could help the team, but it's the manager's decision. Coming off the bench, I have to produce. I can't moan when I'm coming on."
Craig Westcarr's 5th minute goal was enough to settle Saturday's local derby at the Bank's Stadium, on an afternoon when Shrewsbury struggled to create chances. Atajic believes that early blow proved pivotal in the manner of the overall team display.
"Conceding an early goal killed us," he admitted. "It was a major setback. We had a game plan and it wasn't to go behind in the first five minutes. We have to move on now and focus on the next game."
Town's cause wasn't helped when Joseph Mills was sent off in the second half after a tackle on Adam Chambers, but it wasn't long before Walsall were also reduced to 10 men when match-winner Westcarr was adjudged to have lashed out at Sam Foley and was also dismissed.
"The first one (Mills) was maybe a booking, but not a sending off," said Atajic. "He's gone to nick the ball past their player and their player got in just before him. It looked worse than it was. It seemed harsh but it was the referees decision. Their red card was obvious, he just stood up and went for him. It was a head-butt."
Four of the last five games have been away from home for Shrewsbury, and Atajic said the number of matches in a short space of time had caught up with the players.
"It's been a tough programme," he said. "You can probably see a bit of fatigue from the players, but we can rest up now and focus on getting points."
Just two points separate the bottom seven sides in League One, and Town's next three matches are all against sides around them in the table. Stevenage come to the Greenhous Meadow on Saturday, with Town then heading to Tranmere followed by a home game with Crewe.
"It's tight," said Atajic. "All we need is a win and to get lucky with other results and we'll be out of the relegation zone. We're playing teams around us at the bottom and we need to produce.
There's still the belief in the changing room we can get out of it, of course. You have to believe."