Gaffer looks ahead to local derby against Walsall
Shrewsbury Town boss Paul Hurst is expecting yet another tough test when Town take on local rivals Walsall on Saturday.
Town are currently unbeaten in League One and top the table, but Walsall are yet to lose at home this season.
Hurst has been impressed by the job Jon Whitney has done at Walsall over the last couple of years and is expecting a feisty local derby.
“I think Jon’s done a very good job there”, Paul admitted.
“They’ve certainly not got one of the bigger budgets in the league, but last season they did extremely well and this season, for me, they are still doing well.
“I think their home record is very good and that’s something that we’ve got to try and combat. Even last week when they lost at Wigan they were pushing in the second half to try and get on the scoresheet.
“It’s a local derby, so that always brings a bit of edge to the game and from our point of view it’s the worst place to go to and lose our record. I’m sure there will be a good atmosphere in the ground and it will be yet another tough game.”
As local rivals, Walsall will be desperate to end Town’s unbeaten run and Hurst is looking to guard against that.
“If that gives them the extra motivation they need then they can use that”, said Paul.
“I’ve read one or two things today that have made me smirk, but for us it’s just about keeping going. What I wouldn’t certainly do is change places with Walsall at this stage.
“There’s an element that you treat it like it’s just another game - it starts off 11 v 11 - but you know that there will be a bit of an edge to the game and it’s about how the players react to a slightly different environment.”
However, Town’s success this season has been built on hard work and Paul admitted that he won’t be moving away from those principles.
“The players have set their own standards and they know what is expected”, Hurst continued.
“Hard work shouldn’t really be negotiable anyway. The fitness levels have improved, but whether they are fit or not fit, they should work hard for a period of time that they can.
“At the same time there’s certainly not been a lack of good play and quality, which perhaps has been overlooked at times. I don’t think we’d have got the record we’ve got by the players just being hardworking.
“So, it’s about getting that mix and that blend, but at the same time I’m not ashamed to say that I think we’ve got a very hardworking team.”