Steve Cotterill spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s game at home to Fleetwood Town and discussed the January transfer window in depth.
Shrewsbury Town host Fleetwood Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday afternoon and will be looking to do the double over the Cod Army.
Both teams head into the fixture off the back of 1-1 draws last weekend. Salop drew away at AFC Wimbledon whereas Fleetwood picked up their point at home to Cambridge United.
Steve Cotterill provided an update on Luke Leahy, discussed Saturday’s game, and spoke about the transfer window.
On the fixture:
“Well, I suppose initially I’m happy that we’re not on the bus again. We’re in a run of games where I think – by the time we play our next two away games – we’ll have played two home games in eight, and those trips have been long trips on the road that do make it a difficult week.
“When we look at what we’ve just had in the run of games since Christmas, we’ve had no time off and we are going to pay for that while other teams have had time off during the Christmas period, but I think we’ve done very, very well and it’s an incredible effort from the lads to keep us going.
“He’s [Luke Leahy] getting better, we just need to see if he’ll be well enough by the weekend which we don’t quite know at this moment in time.
“I think they’ve [Fleetwood Town] strengthened their squad a fair bit [since we last played them], I think Stephen’s [Crainey] done a great job with them since he’s come in. As I said to the boys, they will be ready for us this weekend, we’ve just got to make sure that we’re doubly ready for them. We got a good result up at their place, we’ve just got to back that up and get the points at home this week.”
On the transfer window:
“Four in four out; I think that’s my assessment. I’m hoping that the lads who have come in like Saikou – who we’ve already seen – he’s coming up to speed now and we’re pleased with the contribution he’s made since he’s come in. Everyone got to see Tyrese [Fornah] last weekend – he’s someone I wanted at the end of last season – so we were pleased to get him in.”
On Tom Flanagan:
“Tom came in on a free transfer out of Sunderland and we’re pleased to have him because his performances for Sunderland have been first class and he has great flexibility for us. He can play anywhere across the three positions at the back and I just think that flexibility will be invaluable to us going forward. We’ve needed, for quite a while now, a right-sided, right-footed centre-back because if anything happens to Ethan [Ebanks-Landell], we have to have a major shuffle round. Luke Leahy has gone back in there beforehand but also if anything happens to Matthew Pennington on that side then that will be problematic for us. We’re really pleased to have him [Tom Flanagan] in, he’s a great lad, a great competitor, and a great defender so I think he’ll fit into the group really well.”
On Matty Bondswell:
“Little Matty, he’s a young boy who reminds me very much of Nathanael [Ogbeta] when he first joined us – very slight, tigerish and we need to do some work with him so I wouldn’t be expecting too much off him, but he will be in and around our group and hopefully, by the time he goes back to Newcastle, he’ll be a better player. So yeah, we’re pleased with those four boys and, for the lads who left, we wish them all the best for the future and for their careers.”
On Nathanael Ogbeta:
“I think it was a disappointing one in how it all happened, I think that would be the disappointment in that one. We’ve ended up getting an incredible fee for somebody who has only been here for a short period of time. There has been a lot of work put into Nathanael, so I suppose there is an element of disappointment that he’s gone after all the work that was put into him. Having said that, I received a nice text off him on Tuesday and we had a conversation and it’s really nice to have been at the start of his career. Myself, the staff, the players who are already here, and the supporters have all helped a young man on his way.”
On the targets that weren’t signed:
“Yeah, there are [targets we didn’t get]. I think it’s been well documented that I would’ve liked to fill in the right-wing-back slot. Everything was going really to plan until the last 24 hours of that window in a couple of positions. One of them didn’t happen and we were really disappointed about that and it’s really difficult to recover from that in the last hours of the window when you’ve got someone nailed on to come to your football club. I mentioned to Elliott Bennett that I wanted to get somebody else in there to share the workload with him, but we just couldn’t get it over the line. There are one or two other players we could’ve got, but I’m not sure they would’ve played so I would’ve just been filling the squad and I don’t necessarily think that’s what I should be doing.
“We didn’t need a left-wing-back, then we did need a left-wing-back, then we didn’t need a left-wing-back and then we did, so it was an unbelievable window and at the end, it was so disappointing to not get the couple of lads we wanted to get.”