Shrewsbury Town have enjoyed one of the most remarkable seasons in their history but can Paul Hurst take the Salop’s success one step further.
If Paul Hurst performed a miracle in keeping Shrewsbury in League One last season then it is a real struggle to think of a way to describe this campaign. Hurst, who joint the club from Grimsby Town, has guided Shrewsbury to 2nd in League One on 61 points with 16 games remaining until the end of the season. The Shrews face tough competition from Blackburn Rovers as both sides battle it out for automatic promotion.
With his side tipped for the drop, Hurst quietly but confidently set on proving experts wrong as he succeeded with a superbly blended squad, full of hunger, organised to a tee and with quality to boot.
Hurst has adapted a 4-1-4-1 formation that opposition have struggled to figure out, it has been a masterstroke and small but appropriate use of rotation has mostly worked in Town’s favour.
Summer signing Jon Nolan has been the key man for Shrewsbury this season. The creative midfielder has effortless ability on the ball often stands him head and shoulders above a congested midfield. In the January transfer window, Championship side Norwich City was interested in a move for Shrewsbury Town midfielder Jon Nolan.
But the former Chesterfield man is not alone in shining in blue and amber. Honourable mentions go to Dean Henderson, James Bolton, Ben Godfrey and Toto Nsiala.
Henderson has proved himself the best goalkeeper in the division, right-back Bolton has been a remarkable and consistent find from non-league, Norwich man Godfrey is a special talent for the future and Nsiala a defensive rock.
Paul Hurst brought a host of talent to New Meadow in the January transfer window to help their promotion chase. Sam Jones, 26, joint Shrewsbury on a two-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee, he scored 13 goals in 45 games for Grimsby Town.
Also, winger Nathan Thomas signed on loan until the end of the season from Sheffield United. Thomas has tasted just 16 minutes of Championship action after securing a £200,000 move from Hartlepool last summer. He netted nine league goals despite Hartlepool’s relegation to the National League. Town brought in defenders Max Lowe and Luke Hendrie alongside attacker Abo Eisa last month.
Shrewsbury have 16 fixtures left of this magnificent season, but they will face more tough tests like Rotherham (H), Charlton (A) and Scunthorpe (A). If Paul Hurst’s side carry on in the same manner that they’ve had all season then promotion to the Championship is certainly on the cards.