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Paul Hurst Pre Port Vale

16 March 2017

Gaffer looks ahead to Friday's trip to Vale Park

Shrewsbury Town Manager Paul Hurst is expecting a difficult test as Town take on local rivals Port Vale on Friday night.

Vale currently sit 22nd in League One and were beaten by Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury are unbeaten in three, but Paul admits that he has mixed feelings over the recent run of results.

“Our form is okay”, said Paul.

“It could be better. It could be worse. I think we played better last time out, we were better on the ball, but from watching it back I think our quality in the final third wasn’t quite there.

“We had a lot of shots blocked when we probably should have passed. The crosses into the box were probably at the wrong time or not with enough quality, but it gave me some confidence in the fact that it was a much improved performance than the Coventry game.

“We’ve just got mixed feeling because I felt that it was an opportunity to have taken three points.”

Vale could cut the gap to Town to two points with a win tomorrow evening and Paul is wary of their threats.

“They played Swindon last weekend and I think Swindon came away thinking they should have won the game in the first half, but it was Port Vale who won the game”, Hurst said.

“Then they went to Northampton and at one-all, the winning goal is a great strike in one aspect but I think Port Vale will probably be disappointed with it, but in general from what I’ve watched I’d have said a draw would have been a fair result.

“They’ve certainly got players that can cause us problems, the front three in particular. Chris Eagles (the former Manchester United youngster) has been playing in the ten position and you don’t have the start of the career he had without being technically very good.

“JJ Hooper is in good form for them. I think our fans witnessed him showing what he can do for Northampton just before I came in and he tortured us. So, they’ve got good players and on the day we’ve got to hope our good players play well and hopefully have too much for them.”

The A53 derby has had its fair share of feisty encounters over recent years and Paul believes players are spurred on by this type of occasion.

“You want your players to be up for every game, but when it’s a derby game it literally just takes care of itself,” Paul said.

“You don’t have to say as much. There does seem to be a bit more atmosphere in the ground, a bit more edge to it and they often are quite frantic. In some ways I hope we see that type of game, but if it’s the most boring game in the world and we take three points I will take that as well.

“We’d love to play great football, be solid defensively, score lots of goals and take all three points, but in truth we are now in a position where it doesn’t really matter what happens out in the middle, it’s all about coming out on the right side of the result.”

Finally, Paul confirmed that there were no fresh injury worries ahead of the game with Abu Ogogo the only man missing for the match.

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