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Matt Taylor meets the press for the first time in pre-season

5 July 2023


Matt Taylor meets the press for the first time in pre-season

5 July 2023

Matt Taylor met with the press following the first few days of pre-season.

Shrewsbury Town's first-team squad reported back for pre-season last Sunday as they began to prepare for the 2023/24 campaign.

Town's boss has had ten very busy days in his new role, capturing the signatures of Carl Winchester and Morgan Feeney, as well as goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne extending his stay at Salop.

Another new face is that of assistant head coach Marcus Bignot, who joined this week from Cheltenham Town.

Matt discussed how pre-season is going so far, transfers, the arrivals of Marcus, Carl and Morgan as well as updating fans on the progress made by George Nurse, Dan Udoh and Aiden O'Brien.


"[It's been] really good.

"We're testing the players every day - physically, mentally and technically. There's a lot of information going into them, (we) don't expect it all to stick, but where we're fortunate is that we have another four and a half weeks and a period of time to make sure the players understand their roles and responsibilities.

"But predominantly this point in pre-season is (about) making sure the players are physically able to deal with the load that they're going through.

"There are some sore bodies in there but I remember going through it as a player very vividly and it's part of the game.

"Yes [there is a lot of running], but it's imperative that the football is also out. I remember at the start of my career you didn't see a football for the first two weeks. That's very different now.

"They've had a lot of double days, no days off since Sunday and they won't be off until this coming Sunday so there's a lot we need to make sure we cram into what is essentially a small space of time.

"But the players have all got smiles on their faces. We're very fortunate that this is a great place to come and work. The pitches are wonderful, the facilities are great, the food is exceptional. The players have got smiles on their faces as I said.

"Today was a slightly easier day for them but we'll start to ramp everything up for them as we head into the weekend."


"There's a period of periodisation that the sports science staff and the medical staff go through with the players here.

"They've done that and it's a case of us as coaches pushing those boundaries and making sure the players understand there are certain remits that they have to meet every day and distances within every week.

"But of course that has to be variable because we need to get the players into the best physical shape that we can first and foremost.

"I've spoken about it before but what will underpin our season is our work-rate. We need to be as fit as we possibly can be - I want us to be the fittest team in the league.

"If you couple that with the ability we have in the building, that gives us a chance.

"There are lots of sore bodies but they're all enjoying it and I think that's the most important thing. 

"While we understand we are here, as a group of staff and a group of players, to work exceptionally hard, I want the players to do it with a smile on their faces.

"I want them to come and question the new things and the new ideas they're being given because there's no point in us just talking at them, we have to make sure the information we're giving the players on a daily basis stays in because it's going to formulate and underpin our season."


"There are different personalities within the group. There's a very good core group of senior players who are at this precise moment driving the group which is fantastic.

"We've had to supplement some numbers with players coming up from the academy which has again been great. Their determination and effort have been fantastic.

"We're now starting to get to the point where we can go into some competitive elements in the training sessions. 

"They're now at a point where they've worked extremely hard during the off-season and we're now reaping the benefits of that.

"It's a process and at times it will become frustrating for them because the players want to go into competitive games straight away. We have to use the next three or four days to build on what we've already done and hope that we take the players to the edge without breaking them. 

"We've now got a period where we have to keep pinning down our fundamentals going into the first game in the season."


"First and foremost I knew of Marcus but didn't know him. I spoke to some very influential people within the game who know me very well and asked them 'what do you think I need?' and a few names came up.

"Marcus fills the gaps in my knowledge, Marcus is an exceptional coach, an exceptional human being and then it was a case of speaking to Micky (Moore) and making sure it was a viable option to have him.

"I think the football club is very lucky to have him.

"He led the training session today alongside myself and the detail he goes into will be immense for our players.

"It's going to take time for them to understand how we work. The relationships within the coaching room will become organic, you can't force that, but what I will say is that conversations that I've had with the players have been really open and honest.

"It's not all about them on the pitch, I have to understand them as people first and I've always said person before footballer, so let's try and build those relationships over time because I'm going to ask them for everything they've got every single day. That's a minimum requirement.

"It's imperative that we work as a group of staff. It's also vitally important that the players and staff are seen as one because the players need us and we need the players to be successful.

"Marcus has very good knowledge of this level having worked in League One last season and I'm really looking forward to working with him."


"Carl is a really experienced footballer. He was actually someone I mentioned in my interview (for the head coach role) with Micky. I feel that Carl is a front-foot footballer who takes up good positions within the lines and can play great passes that break defenses down but more than anything, his physicality really impresses me.

"He can play in a number of positions and he knows the staff and he knows the club. When Micky spoke to him he was really excited to come back and we want people who want to be here.

"Every time a player pulls on a Shrewsbury shirt they need to understand what it means to the fans."


"Morgan's a different proposition because he's a young player with a very good upbringing and grounding at Everton, so he can handle the football.

"What I like about him is his aggressiveness but when I met Morgan before he signed, it was his understanding of how hungry he is to learn that impressed me most. I don't think he's reached his peak, his pinnacle, but hopefully, he can do that for us.

"I know the fans will see, in him and in Carl, two players who will give their all for the shirt.

"Now it's about giving these players the confidence to go and play whilst inputting our ideas."


"Really good. It's a case of trying to hold onto them because they've not played a lot of football and they want to go for it on day one! 

"We have to manage them because I expect both to be big players for us throughout the season. 

"I'm really happy to have them back. They've both come back in fantastic physical condition which tells me they've really committed to their rehabilitation. They're really good people and really good around the squad. 

"Today was the first full session they were with us for so I'm hopefully they can get significant minutes in pre-season and be available as soon as possible in the season."


"I've spoken to Aiden and that's up to him. He's come back in good physical shape, his mindset is exceptionally positive, he's our player, he's a player with a lot of experience at this level who has scored a lot of goals. I think he's an asset we have to use.

"But again, I've said to him as I've said to a lot of the players, it's not up to me if they're in the team, it's up to them.

"Aiden seems to have the bit between his teeth. Do I expect him to do well this season? Yeah, but that's because that's the expectation he's set himself.

"I've had quite a few conversations with him and what happened happens, it's football. He's now got to perform and I believe he will do."


"Yeah, but as with a lot of these conversations they seem to be protracted. One thing I do know is that Micky is working incredibly hard behind the scenes.

"I'm not concerned if we don't sign anybody in the next four or five days because the players we're trying to sign have other clubs after them because they're good players.

"Therefore, it's our job to recruit players who want to be a part of what we're trying to build here.

"I'm excited about the recruitment and we will most definitely get some good players in the building.

"Of course we could sign players tomorrow but would they fit into the ethos, are they going to fit into the squad because of their character, their personality. These are all things we have to consider, not just what you see out on the football pitch."

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