Gaffer's thoughts after the 1-0 home over BradfordPaul Hurst was delighted with the impact of his new signings as Shrewsbury secured their first win of 2017 with a fantastic performance vs. high flying Bradford at Greenhous Meadow.
A goal on his home debut from Freddie Ladapo sealed the 1-0 scoreline, and the game also saw Aristote Nsiala and Alex Rodman make their bow in front of the Town faithful.
Hurst was thrilled with the performance of his new striker and he expects that the on-loan Crystal Palace man to continue to progress.
“He worked tirelessly and occupied the centre backs. We pushed Louis [Dodds] higher today to try and give him a bit of help.
“He’s got his name on the score sheet which will do his confidence great, some things he does really well, and with some things he still has to improve.”
The boss also praised Rodman’s second half performance, but he reserved special praise for Nsiala, who held his own at centre back, even after his captain and defensive partner Adam El-Abd was withdrawn with injury.
“Barring one or two little clearances, I thought he was outstanding.
“I think they’ve shown that they’re up for the fight, that they want to play for this team.”
Bradford were placed 4th in League One prior to today’s meeting and the defeat was only their fourth in 27 league games this season.
Hurst admitted that Bradford’s commitment to attack might have handed his side the advantage.
“They commit men forward, which is how we got the goal, because of the amount of men that they commit.
“It’s not very often you play against a team at our level that are quite happy to go 2 vs. 2 at the back, you see that in the Premier League, but not so much in League One.”
The Town manager also acknowledged the challenge that the away side posed, especially late on, and praised his players’ performance in such adversity.
“When you’re protecting a one goal lead and you’re against a team like Bradford, when [James] Hanson gets thrown on, it seemed like that second half took a long time.
“I thought the players were outstanding, with the effort that they put in.”
Hurst continued: “We wanted a more positive performance from the last time we were here. We wanted to press, but there’s no doubt that a team like Bradford are going to have spells of possession.
“We were forced to defend more than we would ideally like in the second half but still not to the point where Jayson [Leutwiler] is having to pull many saves off.”
Hurst also provided injury updates on El-Abd and Dodds, who were both withdrawn due to injury during the game.
“Adam was feeling his groin, he felt that if he had to go flat out that it would have gone completely, so you don’t want a player out there that has that sort of doubt in his mind.
“Louis felt his calf, I don’t know if that’s a result of the training pitches getting a lot heavier.”