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Steve Cotterill: Slow start still hurting Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill admits his side are still paying for their slow start to the League One season after a last-gasp Bolton defeat saw them slip back into the mire.

Steve Cotterill (AMA)
Steve Cotterill (AMA)

Town’s fine unbeaten recovery league run came to an end at home to the Whites as Cotterill’s troops lost for the first time in six games courtesy of a stunning late Dion Charles winner.

Shrews, for whom Charles’ cruel late winner was a first league goal conceded in more than 520 minutes, slipped two places to 18th – and with results elsewhere against them dropped within three points of the relegation places.

Cotterill’s men performed well for large parts and the boss insisted Town were the better side and that a rare home defeat was ‘totally undeserved’. But the Shrews chief acknowledged a poor opening to the campaign, which kicked off with just one win in eight in the league, has hampered any progress.

“We are (confident and composed), because we’re a good team,” Cotterill said in response to being asked about an assured display despite the late reverse. “What’s probably hit us hard from where we are at this moment in time is obviously the start to the season.

“The start is something that really we’re going to toe (between) now and the end of April.

“There’s nothing we can do about it, we won’t talk about it again after this but that’s the harsh realities of it.”

The unrelenting League One schedule clicks back into gear this week as Town return to action immediately in what now appears a crunch clash at the foot of the table at new out-of-sorts basement boys Gillingham tomorrow.

Saturday then takes Cotterill’s men to AFC Wimbledon, who are currently 19th.

Tomorrow’s long haul to Kent also marks the start of a relentless spell of high mileage for Salop. They face the prospect of four away fixtures in two-and-a-half weeks totalling more than 1,500 miles.

Cotterill remarked on heading on the road: “Just for a change! We’ve done a fair bit of that, so we should be used to it.

“There’s a bit of disappointment around us at the minute, we’ll get rid of it, but you can’t get rid of it 10 minutes after the final whistle.”

For Town the Bolton reverse was a first home defeat in nine games in all competitions – eight in the league – dating way back to late September.

But their form on the road in League One still requires improvement with the sole victory having arrived in the strong 3-0 Boxing Day success at Fleetwood.

“Of course (it’s a disappointed dressing room),” added Town vice-captain Elliott Bennett after the defeat.

“The manner of the goal, it doesn’t give you an opportunity to get back into it. It’s low because we don’t want to get beat and the manager demands we don’t get beat, so it comes to the fore when we do, but we have another game tomorrow.”

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