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Bernard McNally column: John Askey needs to get through sticky patch

By Bernard McNally | Shrewsbury Town FC | Published:

When I saw Shrewsbury were 1-0 down at AFC Wimbledon I was wondering if John Askey would be able to get through it.

John Askey (AMA)

At that point in time things were looking very, very drastic.

John is not stupid and knows at this moment in time he’s managing game to game – that’s a lot of pressure on somebody.

Sometimes you need to be a lucky manager. If you have that bit of luck and squeeze through a very tough period, then you may be able to come out the other end – if you’re very lucky.

The majority of us don’t seem to get that break, I’ve gone through that myself.

If the fans are not happy it puts a lot of pressure on the chairman. But at the moment John is hanging in there. That’s not me writing anything John wouldn’t admit.

I was fearing the worst but he’s showing a bit of resilience in turning it around last Saturday, against the odds. He’s showing staying power, how long that lasts is on results.

Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Salford City brings its own pressure because the visitors aren’t in the Football League yet. It’s a game to watch with interest.

If John’s going to stay in that position the players need to respond to him and pull something out again for him.

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It’s easy for me to say but you have to admire somebody who can stand pressure like this.

There have been managers before that have turned it around, but you need that big slice of luck. We’ll have to wait and see.

Shrewsbury can’t keep giving 45 minute head starts. That has to change quickly. The players have to prove they have the quality.

These are harsh questions to put to the players. If Town go into the Salford game half-hearted they’ll find themselves two or three-nil down. Then the writing’s on the wall.

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John’s really got to motivate and generate some enthusiasm for this tie.

Consistency is key. If you’re inconsistent then you’re forever getting to the mountain top then the next week you’re down in the depths.

That’s the frustration for the fans. They know we won’t win every game, but the players need to maintain seven or eight out of 10 performances.

But at this moment in time John and Town just need wins. It’s as simple as that, even if it’s not great football.

When you draw a minnow in the FA Cup from non-league, you’re expected to win and win convincingly. Winning the game is the most important thing. I’ve seen managers sacked for losing FA Cup games.

We had an infamous one with West Brom, losing 4-2 at home to Woking. You just wished the ground would open and swallow you up.

Everybody has got to be tuned in for Town this weekend.

Bernard McNally

By Bernard McNally

Former Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford player and manager, offering his thoughts on Shropshire football.

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