Paul Hurst arrives in our latest review of the 2016/17 seasonOctober would be Town’s most difficult month of the season as they would take just two points from six league games and they were also dumped out of the Checkatrade Trophy.
A third consecutive draw started the month off as Ivan Toney responsed to John Goddard’s early opener against Swindon, but Town’s ill-discipline once again showed its sorry self as Gary Deegan became the third Town man of the season to be sent off. Town hadn’t won a game since the one at Oldham back at the start of September and fans were beginning to show their discontent.
Town’s next game, away at Scunthorpe in the Checkatrade Trophy, would end up being Micky Mellon’s final game in charge. The 2-0 defeat meant that Shrewsbury were out of the competition before they had even played their final round robin match and two days later the club confirmed that Micky had left by mutual consent.
Mellon would join National League side Tranmere Rovers, while Danny Coyne was put in temporary charge at the Meadow. Danny had made it clear from day one that he had no interest in the manager’s position and the club began what proved to be a lengthy search for a new boss. In the meantime Coyne was forced to take charge of four League One games. The first came at Bradford, where Town would face one of the in-form sides. Town performed admirably on the day, but in the end Bradford proved too strong with goals from Law and Vuckic.
A trip to Walsall followed as once again lost their discipline in a feisty local derby. Walsall took the lead through Armadou Bakayoko, but Town hit back when Olly Lancashire scored on the half hour mark. Walsall went back in front before the break, only for Junior Brown to once again bring the scores level. However, Ryan McGiven was sent off for an off the ball incident and Erhun Oztumer scored the winner two minutes before full-time.
With Town quickly dropping towards the foot of League One the tests didn’t get any easier as they welcomed Sheffield United to the Greenhous Meadow. Town enjoyed a decent first half, but a brilliant strike from Billy Sharp after the break saw Town capitulate, eventually losing 3-0. The performance was no better next time out as they were outclassed by Northampton Town. Ivan Toney scored twice from the spot against his former club, but goals from Zakuani, Hoskins and two from Anderson left Town searching for answers.
The answer came just two days later as Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst was unveiled as the new Town manager. Hurst had guided Grimsby into the Football League back in May and was the standout candidate when Town finally made the decision on who would replace Micky Mellon.
Hurst’s impact was obvious almost immediately as Town ended their four game run of defeats with a hard earned 1-1 draw away at Southend. New rules in the loan market meant that Hurst was unable to add to his squad before the January window, but the current squad showed their worth as Adam El-Abd scored a thunderbolt from 30 yards as Town won their first point under the new manager.