Shropshire Star

David Longwell has played a key role for Shrewsbury Town

David Longwell has played a quiet, low-profile yet invaluable role in Shrewsbury Town’s resurgence under Steve Cotterill.

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The Scottish coach, academy boss at Town for coming up to two years, was given an interim role coaching the first team to help with the transition after Sam Ricketts’ departure.

And Longwell will be making the trip with Shrewsbury’s first team to high-flying and free-scoring Doncaster tonight, after making a positive impression on Town’s new boss, writes Lewis Cox.

No decision has been reached on whether Longwell will take a role in Cotterill’s backroom staff permanently. The boss last week said he will take time to decide and Longwell admitted yesterday he is happy lending a hand but the long-term structure must be in the interest of the entire club, including academy.

“I’ve loved it. If I can help in any little bit then great, I know the players and have a decent relationship with them,” said Longwell, who joined Town in February 2019 after leaving New York Red Bulls in the United States.

“If I can support them, to then support the manager and if it helps us to results then great. It’s been great.

“I know a lot of players and staff up here so it’s been an easy transition. It’s been enjoyable and the biggest positive is good performances and results and the manager’s happy with it at the moment.”

Town have time to mull over their decision with the academy on a two-week Christmas break.

Longwell was a regular ‘interim’ in his time in charge of St Mirren’s academy – where he helped develop Villa’s John McGinn – and was viewed by Shrewsbury as a valuable figure to help hold fort after Ricketts was sacked last month.

“I’ve got experience of when things haven’t gone that well, I was interim assistant manager, interim first-team coach, I’ve got reasonable experience and hopefully it’s held me in good stead to help Steve and the players,” added Longwell, 46.

“It’s easy to say it’s been enjoyable with the results but it’s been good. You want to see the good people here be successful.

“It’s been a tough time for the club, for the people and the players, where it just wasn’t working and it’s good to see them getting some results and seeing them have positivity.”

On the possibility of remaining alongside Cotterill and new assistant boss Aaron Wilbraham, Longwell said: “I’ve been in the situation many times before, I’m just happy to help.

“The positive thing for me is the manager has come with so much experience and understanding it’s great for me, because I’m learning.

“If I can help and support with that then I’ll try to do the best I can.

“It’s been so relentless in such a short period of time, we’ll let this period settle down, the good thing is the academy is off for a couple of weeks, we’ve got to make sure what we do moving forward we’ve got everything set.

“It is essential for the football club long term that we start bringing players through. At the moment it’s easy because they are in a (Christmas) shutdown and I can focus on this fully.

“After we can review it and decide the best thing going forward.”

Cotterill takes his reinvigorated Town side to Doncaster tonight as the hosts know a victory in the only League One fixture of the evening will put them top on Christmas Day.

Rovers, managed by former West Brom boss Darren Moore, have won four league games on the spin, seeing off Burton, Swindon, Gillingham and Northampton.

Fourth-placed Doncaster are joint-top scorers in the division (32) with leaders Portsmouth and pose a variety of goalscoring threats.

But Town are unbeaten in five including two wins and two draws from matches against sides in the top eight.

Shrews head to South Yorkshire with confidence and in good spirits after the excellent victories – and clean sheets – at Hull and Lincoln, which has helped bridge the previously daunting gap to safety to just a single point.

Both Longwell and defender Aaron Pierre admitted that, despite the unrelenting schedule, Town were keen to play last Saturday’s home clash against Sunderland, which was postponed due to a Covid outbreak at the Stadium of Light.