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Paul Hurst Pre Aston Villa

Gaffer looks ahead to first home pre-season friendly

13 July 2017

Shrewsbury Town boss Paul Hurst is looking forward to returning to the Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday for the game against Aston Villa.

It is the first time that Town have played at home this pre-season and is the first of four difficult games against Championship opposition at the stadium.

With a big crowd expected from Villa, Paul is hopeful of a competitive fixture.

“I’m looking forward to it against a top side that are going to bring a good support as well”, Paul told ShrewsWeb.

“I’ve played and managed in many a pre-season game where there’s maybe a couple of hundred fans there, so it will be great for the players to have that and even though it is only pre-season it will bring a bit of nerves to it as well.

“I remember last season when I was at Grimsby we played Sheffield United and the game felt more like a cup game. It was really competitive, tackles were flying in and it was what you would say was a proper game.

“Sometimes you can play in pre-season games and they are a little bit slow, and whilst there’s an element of getting back into it and not picking up injuries, it’s so far away from what will happen when the season starts.”

Villa have a number of international stars in their team and Paul believes the game will be a big test for his players.

“I’m sure they’d like to win the game”, said Hurst.

“They have signed a few new players and they will want to get them to gel as quickly as possible and I would imagine we are decent enough opposition for them to play a pretty strong side against us and if they do that will be a really test.

“A lot of the Villa players are household names and have perhaps played in the Premiership already, so it will be a stiff examination of our lads’ ability, the concentration levels and hopefully we can cause them a few problems as well.

“We’re not just thinking about keeping the score down. We want to be as competitive as possible and have some play ourselves.”

Saturday’s game provides another chance for the players to stake a claim for a first-team spot come August 5th and Paul admitted that some players will see more game time than others.

“I will put a team out and see how they do”, said Paul.

“The lads that get the nod will have the first opportunity to really stake a claim, but if the players start reading into Saturday’s team then they are probably going down the wrong road with it.

“There’s still quite a few weeks to go before the start of the season and it’s a case of picking a team and having a look at it. There will be some changes along the way, but players will in general play quite a bit more than they have done so far.”

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