Bernard McNally: West Ham tie will be a showcase for Shrewsbury Town
It is looking pretty good on all fronts for Shrewsbury Town at the moment.
They are through to the third round of the FA Cup, into the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy and second in the League One table, writes Bernard McNally.
The FA Cup tie against Morecambe this past weekend was a potential banana skin so it was good to see Paul Hurst’s men come through that and bounce back from the 1-0 loss to Bradford in the league the weekend prior.
Of course, that 2-0 win against the League Two side – managed by former Telford man Jim Bentley – has set up a big game against West Ham and I do not think the Premier League side will be looking forward to coming to the Meadow.
For former Salop man David Moyes, he will be looking to come here, get the job done and get out – but Town will not make it easy for them.
I really think it is an opportunity for Shrewsbury to go even further in the competition.
The FA Cup is the home of upsets and there is no reason why Paul Hurst’s charges cannot pull off a surprise win.
It may well be broadcast live on TV and, whether it is or not, it is a great opportunity for all at the club – a massive window, to show everybody what you are about.
It should be a great occasion and the Trophy, too, it is another step forward – into the last 16 after winning 2-1 at Port Vale on Tuesday night.
The Trophy is not the most popular of competitions – fans around the country boycotting it – but they are only three games away from Wembley now and getting there would be huge.
It has been a terrific season so far and there is a real air of optimism going into Christmas, which is something Salop supporters have not had for a few years.
I am massively looking forward to West Ham coming to Town but the focus, for now, is getting a winning run in the league going again – starting with the trip to MK Dons on Saturday.
While getting two wins, on Saturday and Tuesday, Paul has still been quite critical of his team – not being pleased with the manner of the performances, and the attitude of his players.
In the past couple of years at Town, when we have been at the wrong end of the table, managers have had to be understanding and take a softer approach – you have to keep the players’ spirits up. When you are at the top of table though, as a manager, you can be more critical and to the point – and that is what Paul has done.
He is rightly reminding all of the players, while it has been fantastic so far, that they cannot rest on their laurels and there is a long way to go – nothing is won yet.
Over at Wolves, who are top of the Championship, the players are really listening to the manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, and staying grounded. And it is exactly the same for Shrewsbury – the old adage of taking each game as it comes.