Shrewsbury v Barnsley: Paul Hurts wants his players to prove a point against Tykes
Paul Hurst wants his Shrewsbury Town players to show what they can do as they prepare for a ‘really tough’ clash with Barnsley.
The Tykes travel to the Croud Meadow sitting fourth in League One and with promotion in their sights.
Town are fighting for their lives, however, and after earning a late point at Derby on Saturday, Hurst wants to see his players show what they can do in the face of adversity.
“I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen,” Hurst said of Barnsley.
“The stats give you an idea of how they play, but more importantly what I’ve seen, they’ve been really aggressive.
“They press the opposition and make it difficult out of possession.
“They do take some risks at times, but they’re very front foot and have some very good footballers in midfield and a nice mix in the attacking areas.
“They have really good variation and are not a team that you can watch and say ‘that will 100 per cent be them’. As an opposition manager, it’s much harder to deal with when you’re not quite sure exactly what will happen.
“We know we’re in for a really tough game, but it’s a game against good opposition where the lads can show their qualities and I’m still looking at that.
“I want competition within the squad and we’re off the back of a decent performance and probably a better result, albeit it was only a point.
“We said prior to the game we’d have all taken that, I think. We haven’t had many draws this season and each point you get is vital.
“We go into a home game now. I’d like to say it gets easier but I don’t think it does.
“In the last 10 games, Barnsley are top of the form table and the way that they play causes you a lot of problems, so I’m very respectful of the challenge ahead.
“But we have to rise to it again. We’re at home, we want to try and get the crowd involved in the game as well, and see if we can get another good result.”
Tonight’s game will be the first time Town have played Saturday and Tuesday games since Hurst returned to the club.
The boss is trying to use his time wisely to get messages across to his players, as they continue their fight for survival.
He added: “It’s been nice coming back to the club and getting to know the players with a few free weeks.
“Now we have a midweek game, next week we’re off and then another midweek game, and then that’s us pretty much done.
“So hopefully we do get more time on the training pitch, but you’re also trying to build relationships as well and when it’s like this time is very precious.
“You don’t want to overload the players with information. This morning (Monday) for example, I could have spent an hour and a half chatting, but for the players it would have been too much. Knowing some of them, respectfully, the messages have to be clear but precise. You can only take so much information on and with Barnsley there’s so many things to look out for. We’ve tried to highlight the main ones, but sometimes you have to apply it on the pitch and that’s what I’ve been asking of the players.
“I can’t walk you through every single scenario that will take place, so you have to rely on the experienced players to help some of those younger lads.”
Salop have also had an injury boost ahead of tonight’s game, with Tunmise Sobowale and Jordan Shipley both training ahead of the fixture.
“Everyone has trained, so that was a nice surprise,” Hurst said.
“I thought Tunmise would be really struggling and Ships was a worry because of the type of injury, but everyone is fit and healthy and we have a full squad to pick from apart from the obvious ones we know are out injured.”