Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst wants his players to share the load
Boss Paul Hurst is looking for his Shrewsbury squad to continue sharing the goals around as promotion-hunting Barnsley come to town tonight.
Defender Aaron Pierre struck late as Town claimed a valuable point at Derby on Saturday and Hurst acknowledged how both of his central defenders have netted in three games since his appointment.
Hurst has started with a win, defeat and draw in his second stint at the club with a big task to generate the goals previously missing among one of the lowest scorers in the Football League.
“It was an unusual goal for Aaron (at Derby) because it wasn’t a header from a set play, but it was a very good, composed finish,” Hurst said.
“It was really good set up play by Mal (Benning) to pull it back and a good finish.
“We all want a centre forward that scores 20 goals but they’re not that easy to find. I’m a big believer that it’s a team game and that comes from defending and attacking.
“Goalscoring can’t just be on one player or a section of players, it has to be on the team. That’s the same for defending.
“We’ve had both centre-halves score since I’ve come in and maybe Morgan (Feeney) could have had one the other week with a header.
“We have to look for goals from all over the pitch.”
Pierre’s neat finish was his first Shrewsbury goal since December 2020, when he scored a headed winner at Doncaster shortly into Steve Cotterill’s tenure.
Hurst has also had striker Daniel Udoh – top scorer with seven goals in all competitions – on target twice since the boss’ appointment.
While goals were tough to come by for Town under former boss Matt Taylor, tonight’s visitors Barnsley, who are fourth, have the second most goals in League One with 55 goals from 30 games.
Town left-sided defender Benning was last week named the club’s player of the month for January and maintained his excellent recent form with the crucial assist for fellow defender Pierre at Pride Park.
“He’s benefitted from playing more football, which happens with most players, the more they play the more comfortable they are,” Hurst said of his flying full-back.
“Hopefully they get more confident with more performances, which I’m sure is the case with Mal.
“He’s an experienced player at the level and he’s enjoying being in the team and playing football again.”
Hurst, meanwhile, added his praise for “likeable” and “steady” defender Feeney, who has filled in at right-back.
He said: “I think he’s done pretty well. “Is he a natural right-back? Of course not. But what I would say with Morgan, there was no ifs or buts, it was ‘oh yeah that’s fine’.
“That’s the impression I get from him. I’ve been really impressed with his attitude and the way he is around the place.
“He’s very likeable and a bit old fashioned. He just gets on with it and doesn’t worry too much or ask question, to apportion blame or fault at someone else’s door.
“He’ll hold his hand up if he’s made a mistake. He just gets on with it and his performances so far have been very steady, and that’s not a bad thing.
“It doesn’t sound like I’m praising him that much, but I’ll take steady from the defenders and if they can give anything else whatsoever then we’re happy with that.”