Jacko expecting tough challenge in League 1 but thinks Town are prepared
Town assistant manager Mike Jackson believes this current crop of players have the right attitude and experience to be a force in League One.
With players out of contract and loan signings returning to their parent club, Shrewsbury Town were in a different state entirely at the end of their last League One campaign only 13 months ago.
“Obviously the disappointment of the season before was well documented,” said Jacko. “It was a really tough time not just for myself but for the whole club and everyone involved with it, especially the fans.
“So to have a season like we did last time and to get ourselves out of that league is a credit to everyone involved but it’s a new challenge now and we’re looking forward it.
“You get promotions and for the players it’s great – you get carried away and so you should because you’ve earned the right to. I think as a coaching and management team it only lasts for a little bit and then you’re off and running again – wanting to get going on with your new challenge. It’s something we’re really looking forward to and get our teeth into and get going.”
Jacko admits that the club have already spent months in front of the TV screens studying matches from League One as they intend to make sure their return to England’s third tier is not just a fleeting visit.
“We’ve done a lot of work on teams that have gone up and gone down over the last so many years and we’ve been doing that for the past four or five months, said Jacko. “So we know what it takes in regards to personnel, number of points and style of play. We’ve watched a lot of games in the league already so we’ve done a lot of preparation to get just to this point but it’s just the start. We are trying to put everything in place bit by bit to make sure we give ourselves the best chance possible because we’ve worked so hard to get here as a club, as a group and everyone involved and we want to make sure we are well prepared for it.”
Jacko knows that to have the best chance of success next season, Town need to keep hold of the best of their current crop of players.
“Obviously you want to keep your good players and up to now nothing has happened with them so that’s good. We want to keep them. We want to try and build a squad here not let people go but sometimes you can’t stop that but our plan is to keep our best players and build on that and keep progressing this squad.”
Town will visit several ex-Championship clubs next season including Millwall and Doncaster as well as ex-Premier League teams Blackpool and Wigan Athletic, but Jacko insists the Town will rise to the challenge.
“It will be tough,” admits Jacko. “You’re going up a level and the quality and standard of players and clubs involved who have been in it more than us so we need to make sure we’ve got players in the squad that know what’s needed in that situation. The season will go up-down as it always does so we need to make sure that we are ready to go and we’re looking forward to it.
“The last few years there have been shock teams that have gone down into League One like Wolves and I remember when I was playing Manchester City. But I think you have to see that as an opportunity, especially as a player and even more so as a management team. You want to work higher, you want to play against better teams, you want to go to better stadiums – that’s why your involved in football and that’s why we worked so hard last year to tell the lads this is what the next aim is – to end up playing in decent stadiums and competing against good opposition.
“There is nothing to fear for us if we make sure we work like we did last year with the same team spirit and we work twice as hard again then there is nothing to fear.”