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Interviews

Post Northampton | Paul Hurst

27 January 2024

Interviews

Post Northampton | Paul Hurst

27 January 2024

Boss Paul Hurst met with the media after his first game since returning to Shrewsbury ended in a 2-0 victory at Northampton.

Goals from Dan Udoh and Chey Dunkley saw Town secure a convincing and impressive win at Sixfields,

In truth, the margin of victory should have been even greater with Tom Bayliss denied what looked a clear penalty.

Goalkeeper Lee Burge also made excellent stops to keep out efforts from Tom Bloxham and Taylor Perry. 

Overall, though, Town put in an impressive display that saw us have 18 shots, nine of which were on target.

Speaking post-match, Hurst discussed the performance, the goals and a switch to a 4-3-3 formation. And the boss also gave a transfer update ahead of the window closing on Thursday.

On a dream start for his first game back: 

“It probably couldn’t have (gone any better), in truth. 

“Perhaps if Taylor Perry had scored a third when he was through one-on-one, but that would have been greedy I think. 

“But what I will say is I think it was a very well-deserved three points. It wasn’t like we were lucky or we were hitting them on the break. 

“I thought all the players impressed. I felt they all did well. They all had moments in the game.  

“A lot of what we spoke about – what we tried to implement – we saw bits. 

“In terms of what Northampton offered, I felt we nullified a lot of that. And hopefully, the players can take confidence from it. 

“I’ve just said to them – I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but it’s one game. I’m not going to get carried away. 

“But going back to the initial question about the start, when I was getting up this morning thinking about the game there was a bit of apprehension. I’m going to be truthful. 

“I was still a bit concerned at half-time because it looked as though the players had put so much into it and I’m not quite sure where they are at with fitness levels – with some at least.  

“But they seemed to find a little bit more energy when they needed it. 

“And a lot of that second half I felt I was looking towards my right. 

“We had a really good spell where it was attack after attack. 

“It took us a little while to get in front, and maybe when you’ve dominated the game – or had quite a lot of the game – and you don't get in front, you do start to wonder if you’re going to get hit with a sucker-punch. Thankfully we didn’t. 

“Of course, we had to soak up a little bit of pressure. But I think Marko’s only really had one save that I can remember. So I’m really, really, pleased.” 

On Dan Udoh’s goal: 

“It was a great strike. I thought he was excellent. I thought he got better as the game went on. 

“It’s a difficult role, that lone striker. Part of the job is being a centre-forward, but part of the job is defending for the team. 

“I thought he did that well, along with Tom Bayliss – more often than not – pushing up to try and nullify the way they build play. 

“All strikers want to score goals but I think he did a really good job for the team in and out of possession. 

“I thought we looked a decent team today. But as I said, it’s only one game.” 

On Chey Dunkley scoring from a set-piece: 

“I thought we could be a threat from set-plays. 

“We tried one in the first half where Ships (Shipley) hit one. I think we would have been talking about goal of the season if that had gone in. But we executed it well. 

“In all honestly, the two days we have had with them – yesterday we had a meeting, we were out on the pitch and worked through a lot of things. 

“We didn’t even get to set-plays. They were up on the board and we told them if they had any questions to let us know because it was a long day, longer than I would like on a Friday. 

“The players have had a lot of information put in their heads. It’s probably been a tough couple of days for them. 

“But I think Aaron (Pierre) and Chey (Dunkley) in particular got their head on quite a few balls in their box but also made some fantastic headers defensively as well.” 

On changing to a 4-3-3 formation:

“That’s always going to be a risk because the players - and squad in general - was more recruited to play a 3-5-2.

"We might go to that at some point between now and the end of the season if we think it’s necessary.

“But I prefer a back four in general – we haven’t got anyone who you’d say is an out-and-out right back but from what I’ve seen from Morgan (Feeney) and the way that he plays, I think he can do a job there.

“I thought he did extremely well, especially with the way Northampton play with the wide players rolling inside.

"I think that perhaps helped and suited him as well, but I think he was calm on the ball, he helped set the goal up when he drove inside and found Dan. That’s what we’re working on.

“But that can go out the window if it doesn’t work on gameday, but I have to say the lads have been great in terms of their application, it’s probably what I’d expect but they still have to do it and they’ve got the rewards today.”

On the away end atmosphere at full-time:

“I think the majority are happy, and I don’t want to mean this as a slight on anyone, but I think it’s been pretty tough following Town away from home.

“They seemed like they had a good afternoon, they seemed to be having a good time – we got a nice reception when we arrived.

"But that bit is not for me, it's for them. It was nice because, as I said at the start, I'm not going to get carried away, but this club means a lot to me.

"I want to come back and be as successful as I can and that was a nice first result we got."

On if there will be additions before the transfer window closes on Thursday:

"Possibly. There will definitely be a lot of conversations. I've just spoken to Micky (director of football Micky Moore).

"We will be at games and then we will see what happens. There are a few situations that we are looking at.

"I don't envisage wholesale changes. What's become apparent very quickly is that we haven't got a lot to work with.

"But we will try our best because I still think an addition or two could give us a different dynamic.

"There a couple of lads who are already in the squad that help provide competition - competition that we are going to need between now and the end of the season."

On long-term Town target Nathan Fraser:

"We have spoken and I have done my own work and it's all been positive. But my understanding is that it's unlikely because of their (Wolves') situation.

"If that changes I am told we will be the first to know so we will see.

"But we can't just hang our hat on one player. We have got to look at everybody. Let's not rule anybody out even if it looks unlikely because things can change very quickly.

"We might get a big bid for a player of ours. You've got to be ready to act if you choose to try and do some business."

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