Steve Cotterill’s support a big boost for Shrewsbury Town's David Davis

David Davis is still grateful for the time Steve Cotterill took to get in touch when the midfielder fractured his ankle in the summer of 2018.

David Davis of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)
David Davis of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)

Earlier in the year, in March – three years ago this week – Cotterill was sacked by Birmingham City after a run of defeats, writes Lewis Cox.

“I spoke to him a few times over the years and stuff like that, especially when I got injured as well, he messaged me, which is always nice. We kept a good relationship,” Davis said.

“I don’t think anyone has to (reach out). I don’t think anyone is obliged to have to do anything like that.

“It just shows what kind of character he is. He’s a great character off the pitch.”

Cotterill remained out of work for some two-and-a-half years until taking the Shrewsbury job last November.

After a stunning start and turnaround in form, which included victories at three of League One’s top four, Cotterill’s first permanent signing at Shrewsbury was midfielder Davis, who ended a spell of more than six years at Blues just before his contract expired this summer.

“It was massive for him to be here. I enjoyed working under him and it seems he must have enjoyed working with me,” former Wolves youngster Davis added.

“When the contact was made then it was a pretty straight-forward thing.

“I’ve played against the majority of the boys and I know Scott Golbourne, Dave Edwards, Leon (Clarke), Ethan (Ebanks-Landell) all from my time at Wolves.

“That made it so much easier, it made that transition easier.”

Davis’s return to Shropshire – he enjoyed a fine loan spell in the spring of 2011 as Graham Turner’s men pushed for League Two promotion – unfortunately tallied with the club’s Covid-19 outbreak and the midfielder is yet to see the manager that brought him back to the club in person.

Davis’s second Town debut was delayed due to self-isolation measures but he made four appearances as a substitute upon Town’s return, with Ollie Norburn and Josh Vela a fixed and effective midfield pairing, before Tuesday’s first start against AFC Wimbledon.

That first cameo, at home to Crewe early last month, was a significant milestone as it was his first appearance in any fixture in almost exactly 12 months, since a brief loan at Charlton.

Initially Davis was the more advanced of the midfield trio against the Dons this week, but he filled in a more familiar role alongside Vela after Norburn was forced off injured early on.

The Black Country-born ball-winner, who celebrated his 30th birthday last month, is poised for his second start in a week as Town, in 17th, welcome 16th-placed Fleetwood tomorrow.

And Davis is feeling in good shape. He added: “I didn’t think I’d feel as fresh as I feel, I thought I’d be a lot more tired, but I feel good. I think the lads feel good, we’re a bit disappointed from Tuesday with the two disallowed goals and to let them back in.

“But I thought we dominated lots of parts and we feel pretty confident going into tomorrow.”

Davis is, perhaps more than most, looking forward to his reunion with Cotterill, the coach and manager he worked under all too briefly at St Andrew’s.

“Obviously I haven’t seen him personally here (yet),” Davis added. “But it’s been same old gaffer (on the phone), if you know what I mean.

“His energy, being direct with what he is saying, the message is still the same

“It’s probably given us the extra incentive, with him not here, to do well for him, even though we’d be trying to do well anyway.

“We want to do him proud, him not being very well gives us an incentive.

“We are all missing him, the sooner he is better will be great for us, but obviously we don’t want to rush anything with him.

“I think those factors are what puts him in such good stead, with what he’s instilled in this team.

“He has the ability to – not put fear into people – but the standards he has, that’s what you kind of want from a manager.”

“It’s that aura and fear, that expectation, you want to hit those expectations and that’s the kind of thing you need from a manager, you don’t want to disappoint him, you want to give your all.”

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