Salford v Shrewsbury FA Cup preview: Danny Coyne wary of Town falling to Cup upset
Danny Coyne knows his Shrewsbury side must be at their best to avoid being cursed by the magic of the FA Cup tonight.
The Welshman oversees a tie in the oldest national cup competition in the world for the first time tonight in his third game at the helm since John Askey’s sacking.
Goalkeeper coach Coyne’s stint in temporary charge is going significantly better than two years ago, where Town fell to four defeats from four.
It is no secret that Shrewsbury are far better placed to deal with the loss of a manager this time around, with a more united dressing room and more pairs of hands to help Coyne, such as academy boss Eric Ramsay and keeper coach Phil Smart.
And while Shrewsbury looked confident and the Montgomery Waters Meadow seemed united in Saturday’s thrilling win over Rochdale, there is no guarantee their improved form will be enough for progression as Town do battle with the non-league big-hitters live on TV tonight.
Coyne knows taking City lightly will prove costly. Salford were comfortable on their way to a 1-1 draw at the Meadow 11 days ago, hardly pushed by Town in what proved Askey’s final game in charge.
Discussing his record as a player in the competition with the likes of Tranmere, Grimsby and Middlesbrough, Coyne said: “I was never blessed with getting far in the FA Cup to be honest, the League Cup was a little bit different.
“I’d had a couple of disappointing results from lower league teams at the time.
“You can never underestimate anybody in the FA Cup, no matter what level you’re at and the level you’re playing (against), how low down or anything. Nothing compares to the FA Cup for me. Everybody always says about the magic of it and it is, because anybody can beat anybody on the day.”
Thirty-three places separate Graham Alexander’s Salford and Coyne’s Shrewsbury in the football pyramid – though there is likely to be not quite as significant a gulf in budgets.
But Coyne believes that basic levels of energy and commitment are a prerequisite, and possible leveller, in any such cup-tie.
He recalled: “I know in my head where we were and what we had to do at lower league opposition and we didn’t do it.
“You get punished and kicked out the cup. It’s not great memories from a playing point of view when you do suffer a defeat like that.”
Vibrant scenes marked Coyne’s first home game in temporary charge of Shrews on Saturday – an atmosphere which was amplified at full-time following the 3-2 win.
Coyne was at a loss to explain the ingredient that has pushed Town on, but he revealed how a drip-feed of information has been more helpful than a total overload.
“We’ve always had that will to win, I don’t know what it is to be honest,” he said.
“We’ve just tried to make everything a bit livelier in training and up the standards, worked a little bit on being out of possession and what we want to do with the ball.
“We’re trying not to overload them with information. Sometimes you can get carried away with ‘this and that’ and suddenly the lads are overloaded and can’t process it.
“We’ve tried to instil a few things on principles.
“They’ve taken all of those things on board and run with it.”
- Arnold; Beckles, Sadler, Waterfall, Emmanuel; Docherty, Grant Laurent, Norburn; Okenabirhie, Amadi-Holloway
The opposition: No place like home for the in-form Ammies
If Shrewsbury are to progress to the second round of the FA Cup they must do something only one team has managed since December 23 last year – win at Salford.
Boston United managed it in Salford’s final home game of last season, but no side has threatened that record in 10 Peninsula Stadium clashes since.
Graham Alexander’s men are 17 unbeaten in the National League, a run stretching back to the opening three games of the season, of which they lost two.
Town’s dugout looks a little different tonight than the club’s only previous meeting 11 days ago. They are under the guidance of goalkeeper coach Danny Coyne after former boss John Askey failed to survive the baying Shrewsbury crowd following the 1-1 draw with The Ammies in the first tie.
The man trying to keep Coyne’s men at bay is former Salop custodian Chris Neal, three years a Town keeper between 2009 and 2012.
His shutout last weekend, in the impressive 4-0 win over Aldershot, was a first clean sheet in six games and has inspired yet more optimism for tonight’s replay, live on BT Sport.
“The lads defended well like they have over previous weeks, there wasn’t too much for myself to do but it’s always nice to get back to clean sheets,” said the 33-year-old shot-stopper.
“It’s been a couple of weeks since we had a run of them so it’s nice to get back to those ways.”
On his side’s startling league record, Neal added: “If you’d have looked at the first three games and gone on that run we’d have snapped hands off.
“We want to keep doing that. We’ve got an excellent home record and we hope that continues.”
The goalkeeper believes, as underdogs in tonight’s tie, Salford can play their natural game with no pressure.
Neal, who played 75 times for Town, added: “It’s always nice to play in the FA Cup. We played well there to get the draw and bring them back here.
“We can show we’ve got nothing to fear and go into the game and enjoy it.
“The league is our bread and butter and where we want to be successful at the end of the day.
“But if we can put a run together in the FA Cup then it’s all well and good.”
Pie and a pint:
If on the train then The New Oxford is on Chapel Street near Manchester Victoria. There aren’t any pubs near the stadium so ensure you are watered!
John Askey’s last game as Shrewsbury boss. Adam Rooney cancelled out Ollie Norburn’s opener. Fans called for Askey’s head at the final whistle.
Can’t stop scoring from midfield. Netted in the first tie and twice at the weekend. Has become crucial for Town in recent games.
The 30-year-old Irish hitman created a number of headlines after swapping Scottish giants Aberdeen for ambitions National League Salford in the summer.
Rooney’s capture is a serious sign of Salford’s intent and he has so far paid the Ammies back with 15 goals, including the equaliser at Town a fortnight ago.