Getting the best out of non-league drifters and young loanees – these are Paul Hurst’s transfer success stories
PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 May 2018
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Ipswich Town will move quickly to try and land Paul Hurst as their next manager following Shrewsbury Town’s League One Play-Off Final defeat yesterday. STUART WATSON looks at some of his transfer success stories.
Attacking midfielder didn’t make the grade at Everton, played for Stockport, Lincoln and Wrexham before finding himself a free agent. Hurst offered him a lifeline at Grimsby in January 2016 where the player admits his attitude improved.
Key role in promotion season earned him a move to League One side Chesterfield and, following their relegation, he was reunited with Hurst at Shrewsbury last summer.
The 26-year-old has scored 10 goals and provided seven assists at the tip of a midfield three during the Shropshire club’s remarkable season and is being closely watched by several Championship clubs.
The rugged 6ft 4in centre-back is a Congolese refugee who grew up in Paris and, like Nolan, was let go by Everton at a young age.
‘Toto’ – an ebullient character with a thick Scouse accent and incredible tale to tell – had brief spells at Accrington Stanley and Southport, either side of a unpaid stint playing in Vietnam, before joining Grimsby in the summer of 2014.
Hurst helped cure his anger-management issues. The 26-year-old’s role in the Mariner’s promotion saw him move on a Bosman free transfer to League Two side Hartlepool, but just six months later he was one of the first people his ex-boss looked to sign during his first transfer window at Shrewsbury.
The East Londoner – a versatile defender – was released by Millwall, had a spell at the Glenn Hoddle academy in Spain, a trial in Turkey and then a series of quickfire non-league moves that included spells at Boreham Wood, Kettering, Billericay, Histon, Hornchurch, St Albans and Aldershot.
Hurst saw enough from his one season in League Two at Accrington Stanley to sign him for Shrewsbury last summer. The 26-year-old struggled yesterday, but has previously shone as a makeshift left-back and was named in the League One Team of the Year.
Has spoken candidly about his struggles with depression following the death of his father and how he grew up in an area affected by knife crime.
Hurst has taken the young Manchester United keeper on loan at both Grimsby and Shrewsbury. The 21-year-old was part of England’s Under-20 World Cup winning squad last summer, made his Three Lions U21 debut in March and was named in the PFA League One team of the season.
His Old Trafford contract runs out this summer and a host of Premier League, Championship and European clubs are reportedly ready to sign him for a compensation fee.
Carlton Morris / Ben Godfrey
The young duo are both on loan from Norwich City.
Big number nine Morris, 22, often plays as the lone striker. He may not be prolific (six goals), but Shrewsbury play the ball into his feet and create chances from there.
Godfrey, 20, has been successfully converted from a defender to a holding midfielder by Hurst and has been praised for his cool ball retention.
Both have improved massively this season.
South Londoner, 26, had a six-figure fee move from Sutton to Fulham as a youngster but didn’t make it at Craven Cottage and spells at Gillingham, Braintree, Aldershot, Sutton, Macclesfield, Ebbsfleet, Hornchucrh and Dover followed.
Shrewsbury signed the speedy finisher on loan soon after a switch to Barnsley and then made the move permanent. Top-scored for Shrewsbury with 14 goals this season.
Hurst signed the striker from Conference North side Solihull Moors and helped him take his game to a new level by making him more aggressive and hard-working. The 24-year-old’s goalscoring feats at Grimsby earned him a reported £1m move to then Championship club Wigan. Has just played an important role in Cardiff’s promotion to the Premier League.
Goalkeeper has become a Grimsby legend since Hurst – who previously had him on loan at Boston – signed him from semi-professional Dutch club RKSV Leonidas in 2011.
The Birmingham-born custodian, who had failed to make the breakthrough at Coventry, Walsall and Peterborough, has racked up more than 300 appearances for the Mariners and is a firm fans’ favourite.