Shropshire Star

Paul Hurst urges Shrewsbury Town players to take more care

Head coach Paul Hurst wants his Shrewsbury Town players to take more care when they are in possession of the football.


Town fell to a 3-1 loss at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon despite a spirited performance on the south coast, which saw them compete with top-of-the-table Portsmouth for 77 minutes.

But since he has taken over as Shrewsbury boss for the second time Hurst has had high standards. He was disappointed with his side’s performance levels against Bristol Rovers, and after the defeat at Pompey, he said his side needed to be better in possession.

“Initially it was, we were 1-0 down and we kept giving the ball away and without them peppering our goal we were certainly giving territory up and possession when we should have had a spell ourselves in the game,” Hurst said.

“But as I have said, if we are going to try and improve, that is one thing we can do better (keep the ball), and they can do it, and they did it at times on Saturday, but they don’t do it enough times to really take the sting out of the game or create opportunities.

“There is a little bit of you either have it or you don’t. But I can see, and we know where some of these lads have played.

“It is about being really focused and being in the moment and part of it is good habits and that starts on the training pitch. That is what we try and tell them, and there are plenty of passing drills and things like that.”

Results went Town’s way again at the weekend as only Port Vale – who drew with Wigan – gained any points on them in the league table.

But Hurst takes pride in his side’s performance and their overall development as a team so being careless on the ball is something that is frustrating for him.

“One of the frustrations I had in the first half was that we didn’t look after the ball anywhere near good enough,” he continued. “We know it’s a good stadium, a good crowd, but we’ve got experienced lads.

“If I’m bringing the youth team here or a bunch of 18-year-olds, then you can maybe get it.

“Some experienced players were giving the ball away far too cheaply initially and it took us a while to get into it.

“After that, we looked alright, but we have got to look after that ball far better especially when you come up against the quality of attacking players that Portsmouth have.”

Salop have a defining match in their season coming up next weekend.

They take on Wycombe Wanderers at the Croud Meadow, and with some incredibly challenging games on the horizon, including a trip to Bolton and a trip to The Valley to take on Charlton Athletic, it is a game Town need to try and capitalise on.

As well as their EFL Trophy final at Wembley yesterday, Wycombe play Derby in midweek, which is an advantage for Hurst’s team.