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Steve Cotterill hails Shrewsbury Town result 'under the circumstances'

Steve Cotterill hailed 'the best result in the circumstances' of his one-year Shrewsbury Town tenure after claiming a fine point against Sunderland.

Steve Cotterill (AMA)
Steve Cotterill (AMA)

The 10-man hosts fought back to earn a deserved and welcome share of the spoils through Daniel Udoh's second-half rocket, having had to play the entire second half a man down.

Cotterill's patched-up side had David Davis dismissed in first-half stoppage time for a foul on Nathan Broadhead. They already trailed 1-0 after Alex Pritchard's fine 16th-minute opener.

But Udoh's half-volley with 25 minutes remaining, his second goal in two League One games, was the least Town deserved for a tireless display against the Black Cats, who started the day sixth and have aspirations at the top end of the division.

"It's a very good point against a good team, under the circumstances as well, they were difficult enough before the game, losing three defenders from Saturday," said Cotterill, whose side remain 21st.

"It got even more difficult with 10 men for a long time in the game, some of the things from Saturday with 10 men, it looked a little bit like we'd learned from 10 men - not that we want to get to that by the way.

"I thought they were brilliant time, it's the best result we've had - because of the circumstances around all of it - that I've had since I've been at the club.

"I've very proud, I was proud of them Saturday, they were brilliant then, but tonight they were double."

Town were rocked by availability issues as joining the suspended Elliott Bennett were injured centre-half duo Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Aaron Pierre, which meant Luke Leahy was required as a centre-half and Rekeil Pyke filled in at right wing-back. Youngster Tom Bloxham, 18, impressed in a supportive role in attack.

Town were required to name academy defensive trio Callum Wilson, Ben Kaninda and Kade Craig on the bench due to a lack of personnel. For the latter two it was a first senior matchday involvement. Charlie Caton, 18, was also involved, as well as Bloxham.

Cotterill said of the way his side started the game: "We reckon there were three great chances we could've scored from, that would've put us in charge. I felt at half-time we should've been leading the game. There should've been daylight before half-time.

"Their goal rocked us and the sending off rocked us, but not for long, that was the most pleasing thing, the mental toughness of not letting that get to us.

"Going a goal down, that's enough, but you've got to stay in games, got to be tough, got to do all the horrible things, it's not always about having the possession and passing the ball, but having said that I thought we did that very well tonight."

The Town chief added on Davis' dismissal: "I haven't seen it yet, I don't know whether it's a red or not, I've got to look at it.

"We sent them back out to be on the front foot, the best form of defence is always to attack, sometimes you can't do that. But tonight we were great even with 10 men."

Fans' favourite Udoh rasped in a stunning drive from the edge of the box to claim a point, his fifth of the season after also finding the net in the 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham on Saturday.

"The reason Dan strikes such a good ball is he practices, he works really hard at his game," Cotterill said of the popular frontman.

"The improvement he's shown in his game in a short space of time has been huge, huge. A really popular character, really popular in the dressing room, a special boy. I love him and I'm so pleased for him.

"He ran his socks off out here the other week, when we scored four, and he didn't get his goal. I said to him 'if you carry on doing what you're doing the goals will come for you' and all of a sudden he's got two in two, that means he's Dan Udoh prolific."

The manager revealed an ongoing hamstring issue sidelined Ebanks-Landell and was unsure on a timeframe for his return. Pierre was well enough to take part in a warm-up but not deemed fit enough to feature.

Davis will begin a three-match suspension during Saturday's visit of in-form Charlton, unless his ban is subject to a successful appeal.

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