Smarting Mat Sadler is keen to see Shrewsbury strike back at Fleetwood
Mat Sadler stayed at Shrewsbury to help raise the club’s profile – and is delighted that the potential he saw is being fulfilled.
Paul Hurst’s captain has been a key part in Town’s rise to the top of League One. Rejuvenated as a central defender, he has played the role of Mr Consistent for Salop this season, writes Lewis Cox.
But the wise and experienced stopper knows that winning games is the only way forward, and he is determined to help Town find the winning trail at Fleetwood tonight after a hiccup against Plymouth.
Town’s past experiences at the blustery Highbury Stadium, home to struggling Fleetwood, who have lost five on the bounce, on a cold and wet Tuesday night have not been the most memorable under Hurst. But for Sadler, location matters not a jot – for him it’s 11 v. 11.
“If you’re playing against one of the top teams then it’s 11 versus 11,” he insisted. “If you’re playing a game that people might see as ‘bloody hell, it’s Fleetwood away on Tuesday night’ – it’s 11 versus 11.
“We have to match our opponent. That’s all that matters. There isn’t too much between teams in this league so you always have to roll your sleeves up and be on it. You have to treat every game with the respect of the last game.
“We’re smarting from Saturday. We’re desperate for the next game.”
There have not been many bad days at the office for Hurst’s high-fliers this term. And, to Town’s credit, they have shown their mental strength, belief and ability to put disappointment firmly behind them before.
The 32-year-old, who suffered a costly slip in the build-up to Plymouth’s opener on Saturday, added: “It tells us we can respond and put it right again.
“It’s not a foregone conclusion, but we have to go back to what’s been making us successful in the past.
“We’ve fallen below it but history tells us that’s not what we’re about or what we do. Let’s go and put it right.”
Brummie Sadler signed a new two-year deal at Montgomery Waters Meadow last summer. He wanted to boost the club’s reputation. To raise standards.
“You asked at the start of the season ‘what was your motivation for coming back?’ and it was always to improve the standards here,” he explained. “To be where I think the club should be.
“I’m chuffed to bits that it’s going that way, that we’ve raised standards. But that has to continue. We have to have it in our make-up that everything we’ve done up to this point does not go to waste.
“It hurt on Saturday but that’s another motivation. The performance on Saturday is how it’s felt in seasons gone by and we don’t want to go back to that.
“We want to continue the consistency we’ve shown. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, long may it continue.”
Supporters are dreaming of promotion and a Wembley showpiece. Sadler smiled: “Too right, it’s about letting them dream, I’m desperate for them to do that. It’s why I play. Why be a fan if you can’t dream of successful times ahead?
“We’ve put ourselves in a position to allow them to dream and think about getting to a final.
“They’re the things that fill the boozers and help attendances which are going up and up, which is great to see. We’re the people trying to fulfil it. It’s a lovely thing to say that you’re doing.
“That’s why you get up and enjoy it.”