Wary Hurst warns Shrewsbury they could be in for tough test at Sixfields
Shrewsbury Town boss Paul Hurst is warning his players against complacency as the title-chasers travel to Sixfields to take on struggling Cobblers on Tuesday night (ko 7.45pm).
The Shrews can return to the top of the Sky Bet League One table with a win over Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men, and they go into the rearranged game chasing their sixth straight away victory.
Win number five came at Scunthorpe United on Saturday where the Shrews secured a 2-1 success as the Cobblers were being humbled 3-0 at home by fourth-placed Rotherham United.
That was Town’s fourth Sixfields clash on the spin without a win, a run that has seen them claim just one point from a 0-0 draw with Oxford United, and in the bookies’ eyes there is only one winner this evening - and it isn’t the Cobblers.
Hurst knows the Cobblers are struggling for results, but he will be drilling it into his players that Hasselbaink’s team are capable of upsetting the form book and turning them over.
“I’m sure that Jimmy will be looking for a reaction from his players and ultimately they are fighting for their lives”, said the Shrews boss.
“All I would say is that Saturday’s been and gone for both teams, it’s a new game and you don’t get anything from what happened on Saturday, you have to perform yet again.
“For my players I will certainly be into them about expecting a tough game because I think they’ve got a couple of players that can cause problems.
“They’re not where they want to be in the league, but I tend to reverse things a lot, so for me they are due a win and I don’t want that to be against us.
“I want to try and build on what was a very good win on Saturday and the start of a little run that we are on already at the minute.”
The Shrews have lost just two of their past 13 matches in all competitions, winning eight of those.
As well as flying high in league one, they have reached the final of the Checkatrade Trophy which will be played at Wembley next month, leading to tonight’s rearranged date, and have enjoyed an incredible season since they were 1-0 winners over the Cobblers on the opening day of the season.
Much has changed since that August afternoon.
Hasselbaink is now in charge of Town instead of Justin Edinburgh and the Cobblers are set to have just four survivors from that day in their 18-man squad on Tuesday night, and Hurst is wary of that.
“Obviously the manager’s changed there and he will have brought in some new players,” said the Shrews boss.
“That win seems a long time ago. I can remember it and it was certainly a bit warmer than it is now, but we’d take a similar result that’s for sure.
“The wide players they’ve got have got some pace, O’Toole from midfield is always a threat. They’ve also got a couple of strikers that are a little bit unknown, although we’ve seen some of them in action.
“In midfield, Matt Grimes is a good player.
“He got a big move and is out on-loan at the minute. Every team has some decent players, it’s how that comes together as a team and we’ve got to try and take advantage of the situation they are in, and if there is any lack of confidence on their side.
“What we don’t want to do is go into the game and give them a bit of a leg up, start sloppy, ease them into the game and allow confidence to come back.”