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Paul Hurst Pre Port Vale

24 November 2016

Gaffer looking for a reaction against local rivals

Shrewsbury Town will be looking to put the disappointment of Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to Fleetwood behind them when they face Port Vale on Saturday.

The defeat saw Town sink back to the bottom of League One, whilst Port Vale drew 2-2 with Oldham, a result which puts them in 12th.

Manager Paul Hurst is now looking for a reaction from his players and believes the local derby could be the perfect way to respond.

“Come Saturday it’s back to it and the first opportunity to put a few things right and ultimately get the right result, and there’s not too many better games to do it in,” Paul told the Press.

“I think this time last week I said how things can change quickly and it has in terms of results. Realistically not too much has changed, but certainly at the end of the Fleetwood game I saw a side to the team that I wasn’t happy with at all and watching it back only reemphasised that.

“Port Vale will bring a big following and there’s no better games to win than derby games. That’s what we will be hoping to do, but for me it’s still about learning about the players and the reaction that I get from the ones that keep the shirt and are given the opportunity in the starting 11.”

There were big changes in Burslem over the summer with Bruno Ribeiro taking over from Rob Page as manager. Ribeiro brought with him an influx of foreign players who have done well so far and will provide a tough test for Town

"They’ve got a manager who knows English football, but is at the end of the day a foreign manager and you see traits of that in their team,” Hurst said.

“They’re quite expansive in possession of the ball and when it goes right for them they are very difficult to play against. I think when you look at the results they’ve had some very good results.

“When it doesn’t go so well then one or two problems can occur, but that’s the way they play and I don’t think they will be changing for us.

“So, it’s about staying focussed, realising there will be times that they will have possession of the ball because of the way they play, but we’ve got to try and exploit some spaces on the turnover.”

If Town are to come away with three points on Saturday then they will need the help of what is expected to be a bumper crowd. The atmosphere at Town’s last home game against Oxford was one of the best in recent years and Hurst is calling for more of the same.

“I had quite a few people talking to me after the Oxford game about how good an atmosphere had been created and about how it hadn’t been like that in a little while,” said Paul

“I’d love some more of that and of course it’s a derby game, so whoever comes out on top will have some bragging rights and there should be an atmosphere in the ground even before a ball is kicked. We’ve got to respond to that and give the fans something to cheer about.

“We’ve talked about everyone sticking together and I said from day one that that includes the fans. I’m sure there are some frustrated players out there, but if we all start pulling in different directions then there’s only one outcome. If we get together then there’s a possibility of a different one.”

Meanwhile, injuries to Ian Black and Jim O’Brien aren’t as bad as first thought and Ethan Jones could also return after locking his knee in the shower last Friday.

“Blacky looks like he’s okay and you want players available to you,” commented Paul.

“Jim didn’t train today, but very much in mind of him training tomorrow and if he comes through that then he will be available. Ethan Jones did some work with Skitty again today and he’s set to join in again tomorrow as well.

“Shaun Whalley and Joe Riley look like the ones that will definitely be missing, but Joe was outside doing some work with Skitty and it was great to see him outside on the training pitch.”

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