Town Granted Permission to Speak to Hurst
Monday, 28th May 2018 21:51
Town have been given permission to speak to Shrewsbury manager Paul Hurst about the vacancy at Portman Road, the two clubs have announced. We understand Hurst could be confirmed as Blues boss as soon as tomorrow.
A compensation package has been agreed with the Shrews, who were beaten 2-1 by Rotherham in yesterday’s League One play-off final.
As TWTD reported last week, Town will now hold formal talks regarding personal terms with Hurst with the appointment likely to be confirmed in the next few days, perhaps as quickly as tomorrow.
While the Blues kept their distance during the Shropshire side’s play-off endeavours it’s long been understood that they have been given a strong indication that talks with the 43-year-old former Ilkeston, Boston and Grimsby boss would progress positively.
Those discussions with Blues owner Marcus Evans seem unlikely to take place face to face with Hurst having been due to fly to Dubai for a delayed family holiday earlier today.
It's expected that Hurst will be joined at Portman Road by his assistant Chris Doig - who played alongside Blues skipper Luke Chambers at Northampton - while Town are also currently short of a goalkeeper-coach and a fitness-coach with Malcolm Webster retiring and Andy Liddell opting to move on. Those positions at Shrewsbury are held by former Wales international Danny Coyne and Marc Lindsey.
Sheffield-born Hurst spent virtually his entire playing career as a left-back with Rotherham, where he was a team-mate of Blues academy coach Alan Lee, making 438 starts and 59 sub appearances, scoring 16 goals.
He spent a 17-game spell on loan with then-Conference Burton Albion in the second half of 2007/08 before hanging up his boots at the end of that season.
Hurst jointly took charge of Northern Premier League outfit Ilkeston Town alongside his Millers team-mate Rob Scott in January 2009 and the duo took the Robins from ninth to second and into the Conference North via the play-offs - beating Nantwich Town 2-1 in the final - in only five months in charge at the New Manor Ground.
The pair moved on to Boston United that summer and again won promotion from the Northern Premier League to the Conference North via the play-offs at the first attempt, the Pilgrims defeating Bradford Park Avenue 2-1 in the final. They also carried off the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup and Lincolnshire Senior Shield that season.
In March 2011 Hurst and Scott left Boston to take charge at then-Conference Grimsby Town following the sacking of Blues old boy Neil Woods.
After finishing 11th in the pair's first part-season at Blundell Park, the Mariners ended 2011/12 in the same position having slipped out of play-off contention.
The following season they were fourth having fallen away after leading the division earlier in the campaign and were beaten by Newport County in the play-off semi-finals 2-0 on aggregate, having lost the FA Trophy final on penalties to Wrexham.
Hurst took charge of the Lincolnshire club on his own from September 2013 after Scott was suspended and then subsequently sacked for gross misconduct.
In 2013/14 Grimsby finished third in the Conference but were beaten 5-3 on penalties by Bristol Rovers in the play-off final after a 1-1 draw.
However, the following campaign Hurst took the Mariners back into the EFL after six years away via a 3-1 play-off final victory over Forest Green Rovers having finished fourth.
Hurst began the following season with Grimsby in League Two but in October 2016 he and assistant Doig were recruited by League One Shrewsbury.
They successfully avoided relegation in 2016/17, then masterminded a hugely impressive 2017/18 in which they finished third having been pre-season favourites for the drop before losing yesterday's play-off final to Hurst's former club Rotherham, managed by his old team-mate Paul Warne.
The completion of Hurst's sixth play-off campaign in nine years had long been expected to trigger the patient Blues' formal approach as their two-month search for a new boss draws to a close.
According to some Shrews, the players Hurst is most likely to be keen to recruit from his old club once his appointment at Town is confirmed are midfielder Jon Nolan, who perhaps notably was linked with the Blues in April, and defender Aristote Nsiala.
However, a number of other Championship clubs, including Leeds, Norwich and Sheffield United, are all thought to be eyeing Nolan, who is contracted to Shrewsbury until the summer of 2020, and the 26-year-old is likely to cost a substantial fee.
Centre-half Nsiala, whose contract runs to the end of June 2019, is also understood to have been watched by a number of Championship sides during 2017/18.
Like Nolan, the 26-year-old DR Congo international was initially recruited by Hurst when Grimsby manager from elsewhere in non-league, the pair having previously been with the Everton academy.
Keeper Dean Henderson may be an even more likely target if Bartosz Bialkowski moves on this summer with Crystal Palace expected to renew their interest in Town's Polish number one.
The 21-year-old England U16, U17, U20 and U21 international, who has been offered new terms by his parent club Manchester United but is interesting a number of other clubs including Arsenal, has spent the season on loan with the Shrews and may well be sent out for a further spell in a higher division next season having previously played for Hurst at Grimsby in addition to a stint at Stockport.
Photo: Action Images
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