Paul Hurst delighted after his 'gamble' to help Shrewsbury reach Wembley pays off
Boss Paul Hurst was delighted to see his gamble pay off as refreshed Shrewsbury Town booked a ticket to the Checkatrade Trophy final.
Town edged beyond League Two side Yeovil as Carlton Morris proved the hero after his second-half header secured the narrow win.
Hurst had allowed his squad a five-day break in the build-up to the last four tie. Freezing weather conditions courtesy of the 'Beast from the East' meant Town were unable to train – so Hurst permitted time for a mental recharge.
And the boss reckoned his side looked in better shape after their breather.
"Carlton's come into form and lifted his game," said Hurst, who is looking to change Town's record of three defeats from three at the national stadium. "He attacked the ball well.
"The team overall looked as though they had a break. I took the decision, the gamble on my part, and hopefully in the long run it'll pay off.
"We have to remember although we're playing a team from the league below it was a big game. The players coped in general.
"Last night was almost edgy if anything, and I understand why. We came to the game with expectation on our shoulders, that we should win.
"A lot of people turned up thinking they'd be witnessing a victory. But it was a semi-final and I didn't expect anything other than a close game. At 1-0 it's going to get a little nerve-racking but thankfully we saw the job through.
"It sets up one exciting game but we're hoping there'll be quite a few more as well."
A crowd of 4,118 saw League One high-fliers Town secure the Montgomery Waters Meadow win. Much of the talk going into the clash was regarding numbers that would turn up to support Hurst's men in the much-maligned competition, that was also televised live.
Next month's opponents Lincoln City have sold 16,000 tickets for the Wembley showpiece having won their semi-final exactly a month previously.
Hurst, who understands and accepts boycotting supporters' prerogative in taking a stance against the competition, encouraged fans to 'bite the bullet', attend and support their side at Wembley.
The boss argued that many Town fans may not have the chance to see their side at the national stadium again.
"I shouldn't have to motivate any fans to want to go," added the boss, whose side tackle rivals Walsall in League One on Saturday. "If they want to go I'm sure they will if one, they can afford it and two, they're not away.
"Then you've got the last lot that, if they're taking the stance of not supporting the competition, then that's their prerogative.
"My thing would be if I was of that inkling and had kids that come to the game – are you really going to make them miss out?
"Are they going to see Shrewsbury Town at Wembley ever again? You'd hope so but you never know. I'd maybe ask people to bite the bullet, come and support and enjoy the day we're all trying to enjoy.
"There'll be the odds ones that won't but I expect us to take a good following. The ones that won't have seen Shrewsbury play their before – it'd be nice if we could change their experience and make it a happy memory."