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Interviews

Post Reading | Paul Hurst

24 February 2024

Interviews

Post Reading | Paul Hurst

24 February 2024

Boss Paul Hurst chatted to the media following our 3-2 victory at Reading.

In what was a thrilling game in Berkshire, Town found themselves two up inside the first five minutes thanks to outstanding goals from Jordan Shipley and Tom Bayliss.

Shipley - who also got two assists on the day - opened the scoring with a sensational volley after being picked out on the edge of the box from a Bayliss corner.

Bayliss then got himself on the scoresheet following some wonderful one-touch football that saw him combine with Shipley and Bowman.

Goals from Sam Smith and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan saw Reading peg us back.

But another excellent finish - from Tom Bloxham on the stroke of half-time - saw us go on to win it.

Speaking to the assembled media, Paul discussed the game and the outstanding goals. And the boss also gave an update on Aaron Pierre who was forced off with a groin injury.

On the game: 

“We had to win it in a different way. We changed tactics during the game.  

“We got off to a flyer. We got pegged back. We showed really good character not to fold at that point in a big stadium in front of a big crowd. 

“To go in 3-2 up was very pleasing and also a nice boost for the players at half-time. 

“To be fair, when I walked in they were having a little bit of a moan at each other. 

“But I just said to them, remember we are winning - and would we have taken being a goal in front at half-time prior to the game? And the answer was, yes. 

“There was obviously an element of frustration with some of the performance and getting pegged back. But at the same time, we were in front.  

“We made some tactical tweaks so we gave up more possession in that second half. 

“I just felt the times we went chasing, that was when we looked more vulnerable. 

“I’ve said openly I like to try and press. But also I think fitness-wise that would have been too much to ask against a team that plays like Reading. 

“We gave up possession and defended our box well. I think they did have territory. They had possession. 

“But I think Marko only had one really good save to make which is extremely pleasing.” 

On the quality of the first two goals: 

“I like the first one from the point of view it’s something we had identified and looked at. 

“I think we tried something similar – albeit a slightly different set-up – at Northampton. 

“I said to Shipz you’ll score today and it came off! 

“I think there was a slight deflection but still it worked well. 

“And then the second I like that one in terms of – we keep on at Bayliss – he is a good footballer. He has to make forward runs. And he got the ultimate reward. 

“I was a bit disappointed he didn’t swing his left foot at it initially. But once he tucked it back inside, he put it away very nicely. 

“It got us off to a great start.” 

On Tom Bloxham’s performance and goal: 

“It was a fantastic strike. 

“It was hard to see where I was whether it was going in or not – so I was delighted when it did hit the back of the net. 

“From that angle, it was a fantastic finish. 

“That first half in particular he was a real threat for us, a real outlet. 

“I think Shipz found him with a fantastic ball and he was causing them problems. 

“I would say in the games we have played we have carried a threat which I know is something that was perhaps questioned about the team, the squad. 

“Scoring three goals away from home is really pleasing for everyone involved. It shows they can do it and we have got to take confidence from it. 

“Although we blanked last week, I think most weeks we would have got on the scoresheet.  

“We need to keep that going to have a good chance of winning games.” 

On Reading pulling it back to 2-2: 

“I’ll be honest, I never felt comfortable being 2-0 up so early. 

“It’s hard to say you don’t want that – but there is so long left in the game and you know the threat they carry. 

“(Lewis) Wing when he is on the ball is always looking for those killer passes. He is a top-quality player. 

“I said before the game, I think the league position is somewhat false. 

“They have got some points that have been deducted for off-field troubles which I’m sure at points has impacted the feeling around the place, generally. 

“But you can see they have got some really good players. 

“We wanted to take them on. I think we did that. But like I said I felt we needed to just change and we did so.  

“Credit to the players because that was a performance of character. There was some last-ditch defending at times – blocks, headers. Putting their bodies on the line. 

“But, like I said, Marko didn’t have too many saves to make and that is credit to the players for protecting him.” 

On Aaron Pierre picking up a groin injury:  

"He just said he has done it badly before, and it does not feel as bad as that.  

"But I think it was pretty obvious for everyone to see that he did not look comfortable pretty quickly.  

"I would imagine that will be a few weeks minimum, I don't have a true update, that is just looking at how he did it and having done an injury in that area before that would be a concern.  

"But on that, Ryan Bowman coming in. We lose Dan (Udoh) and we certainly didn't want to lose him, and then we lose Aaron during the game that early.  

"Another big pat on the back for Jason (Sraha) coming in, I thought he did extremely well.  

"I have spoken from the start - and people think sometimes you are just saying it to keep everyone happy - but it is a squad game and everybody will be needed and today was an example of that.” 

On the celebratory scenes at the end: 

“The fans really made themselves heard. 

“The lads gave them something to get behind to start with but they then stuck with it. 

“All of a sudden – away from home – we are looking a decent team. I think overall as well. 

“In terms of results, it’s nice people travel a long way. They give up their time and their money and you’ve got to enjoy it. 

“Certainly when I go over, a big part of it is for them – it's not for me. I’m not sure I like it as such. 

“But it is my way of saying thank you to them. You see their faces, the joy and that is what it is about. 

“They will remember that. They will talk about the goals and the performance. 

“And hopefully, it will give them a belief in the group of players. 

“There is a long way to go. We’re not getting carried away. But let’s enjoy it. Now my mind starts to move to Lincoln very quickly.”

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