Hurst looks forward to the FA Cup First RoundShrewsbury Town Manager Paul Hurst is looking forward to his first home game in charge as Town take on Barnet in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Hurst enjoyed a good start to his Town tenure last weekend with a 1-1 draw with Southend and he admits to feeling comfortable as Town boss.
“I’ve settled in really well,” Paul told ShrewsWeb.
“It feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than I have. Just coming into training this morning I had to remind myself how many days training we’ve actually had. It feels like many more, but in a positive way. I’m not tried of the job just yet.
“It’s become very familiar very quickly and as I said at the weekend, I felt very comfortable taking the game and straight away it did feel like my team which is only positive.
“I was delighted with a point, but more so for the players because of the run they had been on and the message from themselves after the game was that it was a step in the right direction, something to try and build on, but I said when I first came in that things do take time.”
Town enjoyed a good run in the FA Cup last season and Hurst is hoping to have another run this season, starting against Barnet on Saturday.
“It would be nice to get an FA Cup run,” said Paul.
“I think the club’s done pretty well recently, but it would be great for me. I’m not one to say that we just need to concentrate on the league, it could be a nice distraction from what is a stick situation that we are in and I want to win a game of football.
“I’ve said to the group of players that we want to win the game because it’s been a long time since we’ve had that feeling at 5 O’Clock of big smiles on faces and a sense of achievement. So, that’s what we are hoping for on Saturday.
“But, at the same time it’s against a side that will come and have a real go at us. A big, physical, strong side. Martin Allen will have them ready and with the mentality of having nothing to fear as we approached it last year at Grimsby against Shrewsbury.
“But, for us, we are at home, we’ve got to try and put a smile on not only our own faces, but the fans as well,” added Hurst.
Hurst has been impressed with how his side have reacted to different training methods, but he is now hoping to get things right mentally ahead of the visit of the League Two side.
“I’ve talked quite a bit this week about mentality and what goes on between the ears is often as bigger factor as what happens physically,” continued Paul.
“If we have any players that think they can just turn up, they will get found out and that’s the last thing I want. If Barnet are to get the better of us they are going to have to work extremely hard, that’s the message.
“We’ve got to match them physically and be mentally prepared for the game, so I will mention that every day this week. It will get mentioned again tomorrow, it will get mentioned in the dressing room prior to kick-off, because I’ve been there, I’ve been the underdog quite often and in some ways it is a little bit of a free hit for them and they will genuinely believe they can come here and get a result.”
Meanwhile, Town’s injury list appears to be getting smaller with Joe Riley the only person left on the treatment table.
“The one big minus is Joe Riley,” said Hurst.
“Joe unfortunately was pulled out of training last Thursday, felt his knee, and I think he’s been struggling a little bit with his knee anyway and he will undergo an operation at the weekend, which will rule him out for 4 to 6 weeks.
“That’s a big blow for Joe and for us. I think he’s one that’s done pretty well in what had been a difficult season to date and he’d impressed in the two days we’d had him for training.
“So, I’m sorry for him, but someone’s misfortune is perhaps someone else’s gain. Coming back into it, Jack Grimmer is available, so I’ve got him or Dom that can cover at right back.
“I think it’s one of the areas where we are pretty strong, so in some ways it’s not the worst place we could have had the injury, but Joe had impressed.
“Olly Lancashire’s only returned to training today, Shaun Whalley returned Monday and again that’s a positive sign for me. Injuries can’t be helped, but perhaps at times they can be dragged out longer and I’ve always had it where we’ve had a squad of players that have wanted to be on the training ground and that is what I always want.
“So, they’ve been out there, trained hard and I just feel like there’s a few more smiles coming on faces,” added Paul.