Callum McKenzie reflects on Town’s 2-1 win over Rochdale
Shrewsbury U18’s picked up their second win in a row after beating Rochdale 2-1 on Tuesday. They came into this match following a penalty shoot-out win against AFC Telford United in the Shropshire Senior Cup final last week.
These sides last faced each other over two weeks ago, where Town fell to a 5-2 defeat and Callum McKenzie gave an insight on how they prepared for the rematch.
He said: “I think we just had a real focus on our attitude and our application out of possession. From Archie right through the team, I thought there was a real determination to go and put pressure on them high up the pitch.
“You could see that from the number of mistakes the goalkeeper made and the centre halves. Credit to all the players for taking that bit of information on board.
“I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game.”
Kian Taylor returned to the starting line-up for the first time since suffering from an injury a few weeks ago.
And the Professional Development Phase Coach has expressed just how important his return is to the whole team.
“It’s really important.
“Kian’s a second year and he’s been really important for the group throughout the last 18 months and he’s been unlucky over the last couple of weeks with picking up an injury when he did.
“He brings a little bit of calmness to us; he’s left footed, so he gives a bit of balance in midfield. He’s a leader and he talks well. So, it’s really pleasing to have him back in and I think all the players would agree.”
McKenzie has also admitted that their penalty shoot-out win in a cup final gave all the players a boost in preparing for this match.
“Winning a cup final with the side that Telford had out was a bit of extra motivation and, as a coach, winning a game like that on penalties it’s nerve wracking. But when you do it feels like more than a win.
“Not that players should have problems with motivating themselves, but I think it’s toughened us out a little bit and building towards the cup final, there seemed to be an extra edge about the players, and I think you saw that coming out in the game.”
Town face Accrington Stanley at the Shrewsbury Sports Village on Saturday. In the away fixture in December, they came from behind twice to bring a point home.
And the team already have a plan set in place on how they will prepare for the match.
“We want a very similar performance to Tuesday’s. The players have got a day off tomorrow to recover and we’ll be back on Thursday and Friday putting a game plan in place for them.
“Hopefully the lads are at it like they were on Tuesday and if they are, then we’ve got a great chance of winning the game.”