Paul Hurst prepares for testing season at Shrewsbury Town

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Paul Hurst and Shrewsbury ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League One season.

Background

January was the turning point for Shrewsbury in their battle for survival last term, as Paul Hurst brought in eight new players and churned out 20 points from a dozen matches through to mid-March. However, six of those new arrivals were loan deals he can no longer count upon and problems have subsequently mounted among those left out in the cold, with Hurst implying that some are being deliberately awkward as he tries to move them on. Working to a modest budget, the early conditions are far from ideal.

Personality

Tenacity and aggression are the defining characteristics of this former Rotherham full back. At just 5ft 4in, he had to stand his ground more than most other players, to the point that eventually you’re seen as the guy that goes looking for trouble - getting your retaliation in early. It’s an uncompromising nature Hurst has now taken into management. When Grimsby were promoted at Wembley the season before last, he even let rip at a section of the club’s supporters in his post-match interview on the Wembley pitch.

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Verdict

Not since 1990 have Shrewsbury finished in the top half of the third tier and only once in that period have they been outside the bottom seven. It’s a sample of nine seasons with a mean average of less than 50 points, not the base rate from which you wish to start a new campaign clouded by uncertainty. Salop have the right man for a scrap in Hurst but the issues he must confront before the football takes centre stage have also been largely of his own making.

Prediction: relegated

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