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Interviews

Paul Hurst pre Blackpool

29 February 2024

Interviews

Paul Hurst pre Blackpool

29 February 2024

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst spoke to the press ahead of our clash against Blackpool.

Town have made huge strides forward since Hurst and his assistant Chris Doig returned to the club last month.

But we fell to a disappointing defeat at Lincoln on Tuesday - with the boss saying afterward he was embarrassed by the performance.

Speaking today, Paul discussed the mood in the camp and gave fitness updates on Marko Marosi, Tom Flanagan and Dan Udoh.

And sadly, the boss confirmed Aaron Pierre will miss the rest of the season after sustaining a groin injury during the win at Reading.

On training post Lincoln: 

“In all honesty, we haven’t done too much on that side. It’s been more about getting the players in and starting the recovery as well as training the lads who didn’t play much. 

“And while you know that I wasn’t impressed on Tuesday night, what I would say is you can’t dwell on that. 

“I want them to use it as motivation, so it doesn’t happen again. 

“But at the same time, we can’t sulk. It is very much thinking towards Blackpool. 

“There are some selection decisions to make on my part. 

“When you get a performance like that, that becomes more of a dilemma – shall we say. 

“That is where we are at. Because it’s Thursday afternoon, we’ll have some more conversations and then we’ll decide what we feel is the best way forward. 

“Then we’ll go through that with the players tomorrow."

On Marko Marosi: 

“Genuinely - and this isn’t me playing any games- with Marko there is some swelling around a nerve. 

“He could literally be okay tomorrow but not okay on Saturday and vice-versa. 

“It’s the same for longer periods. It’s a really difficult one and one where we are going to have to be open-minded. 

“We are going to have to be prepared to be with him and without him.  

“It’s not ideal, as you can imagine. But that is the situation as it is.  

“Skitty (Chris Skitt head of medical performance) has said, if anything, he needs to lay off him in terms of treatment just to try and help him recover. 

“He has done a lot of work over the past few weeks and I think his body now just needs a little of recovery to that side of it. 

“It is an injury but it’s nothing really specific that he can work on. 

“We have just got to keep our fingers crossed. 

“It’s a problem he’s been managing for a while. He has been having injections. 

“But it’s just got to a point where it isn’t comfortable enough for Marko to play. 

“Harry got his opportunity. And if that’s the case again that is what we will go with.” 

On Dan Udoh's recovery from illness: 

“Dan was on the bench the other night, but I think the way the game went, I didn’t see a real value in bringing him on. 

“He’s trained today. We will make a call on whether he starts. He will definitely be in the match-day squad. 

“It still looks like he is feeling it a little bit. But we are still a way off kick-off time. 

“And I think with Dan, and the way he has performed since I’ve come in and in general, we’d like him to be in that starting line-up. 

“But I guess I’ll have to make that call tomorrow after training.” 

On Aaron Pierre: 

“It’s bad news on Aaron. He has had his scan, he is out for the season. 

“It’s a groin injury. The scan has come back. We need to find out if he needs an operation. 

“Ultimately, we won’t be seeing Aaron again this season. 

“It’s really disappointing. We made the decision to go with him and Chey (Dunkley) as an experienced partnership at the heart of the defence. 

“In both boxes, those players bring an ariel presence.  

“And the general play as well of those two as well, looking at the make-up of the team overall, that is something that we felt we needed and had done well for us. 

“It’s a blow. But while it’s a blow for Aaron it’s an opportunity for someone else. 

“Jason (Sraha) has been the main benefactor in terms of coming on at Reading. He played in a different position at Lincoln. 

“But as I’ve said before, squad members have to be ready to step up.” 

On whether we could see a change in formation: 

“It’s something we are considering. 

“No definitive decision has been made on that. I know we spoke when I first came in and I said a back four was my preference. 

“That is what we have gone with to date. Even before Aaron got injured, we had discussed a three as well. 

“It’s just what we feel is best for the group and where we are at. We will see on that but that is something we are looking at.” 

On Mal Benning:

"Mal hasn't trained today but we're expecting him to be back in tomorrow and available for the weekend.

"He's done very well. He was in and out, came on as a sub quite a bit from memory, then when we've played he was the obvious selection for us at left-back and he gives us a good outlet on that left-hand side.

"That relationship he has with Jordan Shipley in front of him, they seem to lend themselves to each other's game, and it's been a real positive for us.

"Obviously we missed that the other night but hopefully we'll have Mal back in the team on Saturday."

On Tom Flanagan:

"I still think it's probably a little too soon in truth. He trained today and he's getting stronger and fitter with every training session he does.

"What I would say is with Flanno and his experience, you can get yourself through certain situations and parts of the game just by using that knowledge.

"I'd probably say it's a little too early whereas maybe with another two weeks of training, then we're probably at a different stage with him."

On the importance of results over performances:

"I think Reading in the second half was, not ugly but we went down a different route in terms of I felt like the team were stretched on a big pitch and I think they wanted us to press, so when we sat off them, while we gave up possession I don't think they created too much.

"I think Marko made two saves of note and we still carried a bit of threat in terms of the counter-attack.

"There's always things we can look at. 

"I don't want to throw everything out because I think we've done well in the six games before Tuesday night, but you've always got to be adaptable.

"With respect to ourselves, we're not the best team in the league - that's blatantly obvious, the table says that.

"I think we have to be respectful and think about if there's a different way to set up depending on what we're coming up against.

"I don't want to be changing constantly so that's something again that I'm toying with in my own mind.

"But whatever way we go, the intention is to win the game. It doesn't matter what personnel, system, formation, tactics, the aim is always to win."

On the team having failed to win back-to-back league games this season:

"I think initially no (that it's not psychological). I think as time goes on potentially that could be.

"It's something we spoke about prior to Tuesday more as a 'can we get back-to-back wins' but that obviously didn't happen.

"I guess overall it's an indicator of where we are in the table and trying to find that consistency which has to have been lacking across the season.

"That's not apportioning blame anywhere, that's just the story of the season. We're trying to get more consistent, team selection in general has been consistent and I dare say that's helped.

"We've had a couple of injuries thrown in and people missing, that made that not an option on Tuesday night and potentially moving forward.

"Moving forward, we want to have some consistency within that, whether it's changing one or changing formation, we'll see."

On Blackpool:

"I think it's a game that you want to come because you want to try and erase Tuesday night.

"And again, I would take an ugly win and I would take a poorer performance and a win stood here right now but a big part of me just wants to see a better performance.

"I didn't like what I saw (on Tuesday night), I don't want that to be something that becomes the norm or we become associated with.

"For me as head coach, Chris as assistant, the rest of the staff, the players, I don't want that to be labelled at them so the first opportunity to change that and to make sure we're talking about a one-off in terms of performance level is Saturday.

"That's why it's so important that we produce a much better performance."

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