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Shrewsbury believes League One is becoming 'more difficult'

Shrewsbury Town boss Steve Cotterill believes League One is becoming harder to play in – with more big clubs now competing in the division.

Steve Cotterill (AMA)
Steve Cotterill (AMA)

Teams with huge capacity stadiums, large playing budgets and significant fan bases are now common in League One.

Last weekend more than 31,000 fans watched Derby win 1-0 in their first game of the season at Pride Park.

Also in the division, Sheffield Wednesday secured a 3-3 draw with Portsmouth at Hillsborough – this game was watched by 26,901 fans.

And big teams with huge histories like Wednesday and Derby are making the league harder for sides like Salop, according to Town boss Steve Cotterill.

“I do feel the league is getting bigger and bigger, and more difficult,” he said. “If you think where you have got to be to finish in mid to top half, you have to be above some big clubs, and that is always going to be difficult for us.

“If our budget was double or triple, it would be a lot easier, but we have to do the best we can with the best available.”

Ipswich are another side with pedigree currently plying their trade in League One. The Tractor Boys were in the Championship for 17 years before being relegated in 2019 – they boast an impressive footballing history with a Uefa Cup title to their name.

And even sides with big capacity stadiums can struggle at this level.

Since being relegated Ipswich have not finished higher than ninth.

Similarly, Charlton, a club with vast Premier League experience, have found it incredibly hard to get out, and stay out of the third tier since they were relegated in 2016.

But sides like this make it hard for smaller teams, like Shrewsbury, to compete.

And the boss says most people outside of the club would say they have a good campaign if they survive.

But Cotterill does not think the players need to think like that.

He said: “I think from the outside, we have been in the lower echelons of the league for a while – and it is funny how people look at it.

“Someone outside of Shrewsbury will say we have done great to stay in League One, but that doesn’t mean to say we need to have that in the training ground.”

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