Gaffer talks ahead of the Checkatrade TrophyShrewsbury Town Manager Paul Hurst has emphasised the importance of Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy game with Middlesbrough Under-21s.
Town are already out of the competition after losing their first two games of the knockout stages, but Tuesday night’s trip to the Riverside will offer an opportunity for Hurst to take another look at his squad.
Shrewsbury will be looking to build on the 3-0 victory against Barnet on Saturday and Hurst told the Press that he is expecting to play a strong side.
“I’m going to be quite strong with my team selection,” admitted Paul.
“I think from my point of view it’s a different game, I’m still new to the job, it’s very early days and there’s things that I still want to look at, players that I want to build partnerships, so it will be a strong side and we want to go there and win the game.
“It’s not the be all and end all if we don’t. I can’t sit here and say I’m going to start losing sleep about it, but I want the players to approach it in the right manner, with the right attitude again.
“Saturday we spoke before the game about finding things out about attitude and the game at Middlesbrough is one of those where one or two could quite easily think it doesn’t really matter and if they take that approach, that’s an insight for me into what they are all about.
“So, for the players that get the shirt, they have to go out and show me they are committed no matter what competition it is,” added Paul.
Middlesbrough Under-21s are also out of the competition after losing to Scunthorpe United and Cambridge in the early part of the tournament, but Hurst is expecting a difficult test, in a competition he has enjoyed success in in the past.
“It is different because we are not entirely sure what opposition we are going to face tomorrow in terms of the players, but I can guarantee there will be some good technical players on show, even if it’s their under 16 team they put out,” Paul said.
“So, that will be a challenge for us. It may be a different sort of game than what we are accustomed to on a weekly basis, but I’m looking forward to it.”
“I was fortunate enough to win the competition so for me I see the value in it when you get to those latter stages and it gave me one of my best memories from playing at an early age, 21 years old, playing at the old Wembley and I wouldn’t change that for the world.”
Meanwhile, Adam El-Abd is set to miss out through a minor injury, but Ethan Jones comes back into the reckoning after ending his loan spell at Tranmere.
“Adam El-Abd’s just felt his calf slightly,” said Paul.
“I don’t believe it’s something to worry about, but that’s one that we might just leave out to be on the safe side.
“Joe Riley had his operation at the weekend. As far as I’m aware everything went well, or as well as can be expected, so he will probably be 4 to 6 weeks away from being selected.
“Other than that everybody seemed to come through the game well on Saturday and no injuries picked up in training.
“There’s a good chance Ethan will be involved tomorrow night. I’ve had a good chat with him this morning, told him what I expect.
“I spelt things out about what I expect from him, how we like to work and I have to say I’ve heard a lot of positives about him and I want to see the best of Ethan and see those positive attributes come out in games and training.”