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Recruitment and mentality the key to Shrewsbury's defensive form says David Longwell

Recruitment and mentality are the reasons behind Shrewsbury’s impressive defensive form – according to first-team coach David Longwell.

Chey Dunkley of Shrewsbury Town celebrates at full time.
Chey Dunkley of Shrewsbury Town celebrates at full time.

Much has been said about the fact Town have scored 10 goals in their last three League One matches, but what has been equally important is they have only conceded on one occasion too.

Shrewsbury’s back three have been very reliable this campaign, and keeping two clean sheets in the last three games has gone a long way to helping them move from 17th to ninth in the table.

And first-team coach Longwell has praised the club’s recruitment in recent times, and the mentality of the defenders who have arrived at the club.

“There are lots of reasons behind that,” Longwell said.

“I think recruitment, with the players that have come in, if you think way back to when the manager first came in and someone like Matthew Pennington came in soon after to start building that defence.

“So recruitment is massive, and if you think we have recruited Tom Flanagan, we have recruited Chey Dunkley and the three of them are very good defenders, first and foremost. I think that is part of it. The second part to that is them as men, because they are proper players who want to go out there and defend and that is a lot to do with their mentality and character.

“With all three of them you know they are never going to back out of anything.”

All three of Steve Cotterill’s regular centre-backs have arrived since he joined the club, Pennington has been there the longest with Flanagan and Dunkley signing in 2022, the latter has started every single League One game for Town this season and has been a rock at the back.

But Longwell also said Shrewsbury have benefitted from the work they did on the training pitch earlier in the season to make sure they know their roles.

“So I think the recruitment of certain types of players, their mentality and their attitude, and ultimately the work we do with them,” he continued.

“The manager did a lot of work with them earlier in the season on defensive shape, to make sure we have them in the right areas of the pitch and so forth, and they have that mentality to want to defend.

“So I think it is a combination of all of that.”

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