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Match Previews

Paul Hurst Pre Gillingham

26 January 2017

Gaffer looking forward to the trip to Gillingham

Shrewsbury Manager Paul Hurst is hoping Town can get their third win in a row when they take on Gillingham on Saturday.

Town have beaten Bradford and Oldham in the last two weeks and now make the long journey to the Priestfield Stadium to take on the Gills.

Gillingham currently sit just three places above Shrewsbury, but Paul is expecting a tough test against a manager he knows well in Ady Pennock.

“I’m hoping my experience as a manager will be better than some of the trips I had there as a player”, smiled Paul.

“We’re going there on the back of winning two games and a draw at Swindon so it would be great if we could go there and get a result. But, they’ve got a new man on board there and someone I know well from his time at Forest Green.

“He’s a good guy and I think we share some of the same ethics in terms of how we want our teams to be. They are on the back of a very good point at Sheffield United, where I think the team worked a lot harder than perhaps they had done in previous weeks and got the rewards.

“So, we’ve got to make sure we bring that part to our game and I think similarly to the Oldham game it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s not the prettiest of games, but ultimately it’s about rolling your sleeves up, getting on with it and trying to come out on the right side of the result.”

Town’s home form under Hurst has been outstanding, conceding just one goal since he came to the club, but Paul now wants to make sure the players look at the away games in the same way.

“I’ve said before that I don’t want to change the way we play away from home”, said Hurst. 

“We want to be positive, we want to try and get the ball down and play when we can, but not be frightened to pull the ball in certain areas when we are under pressure and at the right times of games.

“I think that’s something the players have done well recently. Our worst performance for me was at home against Fleetwood in the first half and part of that was getting caught on the ball in poor areas and putting pressure on the team.

“I’m all for passing and 100 percent don’t want us to be a long ball team, but within 90 minutes there’s plenty of opportunities to pass the ball, it doesn’t have to be every time and certainly not when you are under pressure deep in your own half.”

There was some better news on the injury front with Louis Dodds and Ryan McGivern returning to training on Thursday and Paul is pleased to have a selection headache on his hands.

“It is a headache, but the strength of the bench often gives you an idea of the squad and the capabilities of that group overall”, Hurst said.

“No disrespect to the lads that have been on the bench recently, but since I’ve come in that’s where I feel we have been behind probably every team in truth. I think we’ve had maybe one or two real options and after that you’re hoping you don’t get an injury.

“Fingers crossed when we get out of this window that’s one thing that will be better, we will have a stronger squad and more competition. Not everyone plays brilliantly every game, that’s a fact, so when maybe someone’s having an off day we pull someone off and put someone else on that thinks they should be in the team.

“Then it’s up to them to come on, have a positive contribution, so that in the next game I have a little bit of a headache. It makes my job harder picking the team, but ultimately that’s what you want as a manager.”

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