Manager Steve Cotterill chatted to the media ahead of our Boxing Day clash at Cambridge.
Town travel to Abbey Stadium today for their first game in over a fortnight after our League One match at Peterborough was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
We make the trip looking to register a fourth consecutive victory after an FA Cup win over Peterborough was followed with league successes over Lincoln and Bolton.
Speaking ahead of today’s game, Steve discussed the team’s training schedule over the festive period and the importance of giving the players a few days off.
The boss also reflected on the progress the club has made over the past 12 months – with Shrewsbury 18th in the table last Christmas. This year, though, we are 11th and just five points outside the play-offs.
ON TRAINING OVER THE PAST WEEK:
“Nobody has known what day it's been!
“In a way it’s been nice to not have a game and a break because we haven’t really had one.
“The mental side of it is good. The lads got a couple of extra days off at the beginning of last week which they earned with a view to what we have got ahead of us.
“We have got a few lads who have got family dotted around the country.
“And I thought it was a great opportunity for them to go and see their families because we are in over Christmas.
“We are in all over Christmas so it was really good to be able to give them that time to go and see their families.
“I think they all enjoyed themselves and they came back with a spring in their step.”
ON THE BUSY CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE:
“Everybody knows it’s tradition – the festive period here and we understand that. And if you are involved in football you have to accept it.
“I bet (injured duo) Dan Udoh and Nursey (George Nurse) would give their right arm to be training on Christmas Day and playing on Boxing Day.
“It is what it is in football – you have got to take the rough with the smooth. The fact you are in over Christmas it doesn’t make a lot of difference, to be honest.
“We trained earlier on Christmas Day. But other than that, nothing else changed.”
“Three points would be a great present for everybody. I really like Cambridge, I like the club, I like the manager, I like quite a few of their players.
“I think they did great last year – I think Mark (Bonner) did a brilliant job. And he’s doing just as good a job this year even though last year he was probably getting more plaudits.
“I think he has done a terrific job there. Obviously, I hope we win the game. But Cambridge are a good club, with good people, a good CEO, a good manager, a good staff and a good group of players.
“I’ve got full respect for them and we know it will be a tough game.”
ON PROGRESS MADE OVER THE LAST YEAR:
“I think there was progress from the year before that as well. But sometimes the league table doesn’t always show that progress.
“I think there is a fair bit of progress that’s gone on for the couple of years that I have been here.
“But we have not got our head in the clouds. And we have to make sure we all understand at this football club how hard it has been.
“You look at those seven places, it would have been fantastic wouldn’t it if I’d have come in and we were in 11th position and we’d climbed seven places to fourth.
“Then everyone would be getting excited. We are all pretty level headed. We have got our feet on the ground and are honest and hard working. That is the way it has got to stay.”
ON BEING JUST OUTSIDE THE PLAY-OFFS:
“It’s a big achievement by the players, they are the ones who have to go out there every week and do the business.
“To be fair to them they haven’t been found wanting too many times this season.
“I think that’s a credit to them, their character and how they represent themselves and their families.
“I think they have done incredibly well and long may that continue.
“I don’t envisage them changing, they are a great set of lads – they really are.
“The environment at a football club is everything. And I think building that environment, that’s what I have been doing from day one.
“And that’s not to say the other boys that have been here weren’t part and parcel of that.
“From the time I came in, even with the original lads I inherited, I’ll never, ever, forget them.
“I spent a lot of time in hospital and they were still here day, after day, without their manager so I’ll never forget any of them.
“There has been lots of coming and goings at the club. But it’s all a journey, all of it.
“And this is the latest part of the journey and I’m sure there will be more along the way here.”