Shropshire Star

John Askey calls on Shrewsbury Town players to rise to the occasion against Sunderland

John Askey has challenged his Shrewsbury Town players to handle the pressure cooker atmosphere in tomorrow’s ‘cup final’ against Sunderland.


Town are preparing for their largest gate of the season against the former Premier league Black Cats, the biggest club in League One who most have tipped for an immediate Championship return.

The Wearside outfit have sold out their 1,600 allocation and the crowd at Montgomery Waters Meadow is set to top the 8,000-mark.

The previous highest this season was 7,625 against Bradford on the opening day, while just 4,353 saw the 1-0 win over Accrington in the last home game. And boss Askey wants to see his players handle the big-game occasion.

He said: “The one thing is that I don’t think it’ll need much of a team talk.

“It’s a game that supporters and players are looking forward to. But for us it’s just another game, that’s what players have got to realise.

“We’ve got to go out there, stop them playing and play ourselves.

“If we start thinking they’re better than what they are then we’ll have problems.

“It’s not as though they’re going home and away and winning four and five every week. They haven’t found it easy.

Askey continued: “As a player this is why you play football, for games like tomorrow.

“I’ll see who can handle it and who can’t. We hope that playing in front of a big crowd makes players play better.”

The Town chief is expected to revert to the tried and trusted 4-3-3 system after admitting he was wrong to use 4-4-2 at Fleetwood last week.

Jack Ross’s Sunderland have lost just once in 12 League One games after their back-to-back relegations.

“They’re expected to go back up, if they don’t it’ll be a surprise,” the Town boss added.

“It shows the gap between the Championship and League One. We’ve got to treat it as a cup final.”