Bring on Chelsea, what a test roars Shrews boss!

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Ryan Wal­ters

IF JOSE Mour­inho be­gan his first stint at Chelsea by declar­ing him­self ‘The Spe­cial One’, then Micky Mel­lon is fast earn­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as ‘The Lucky One’ in charge of Shrews­bury.

And de­spite be­ing at op­po­site ends of the man­age­rial spec­trum, Mel­lon says he couldn’t have wished for a bet­ter test than against the Por­tuguese in the Cap­i­tal One Cup fourth round.

The 42-year-old Scot has gal­vanised a patch­work of play­ers brought in over the sum­mer, lead­ing them to early League Two suc­cess – as well as the tag of cup gi­ant-killers.

Nor­wich were the lat­est club to be slain in mid­week, with Le­ices­ter and Black­pool fall­ing be­fore them to set up a home clash with Chelsea’s glut of stars on Tues­day Oc­to­ber 28.

While Mour­inho has won Cham­pi­ons Leagues and Premier League ti­tles, Mel­lon earned his full pro­fes­sional coach­ing li­cence only just be­fore start- ing at New Meadow in May.

But with his play­ers hav­ing em­braced a pass­ing phi­los­o­phy – which hasn’t al­ways guar­an­teed suc­cess in the lower leagues – Mel­lon hopes Lady Luck will con­tinue to shine on the Shrews. “Somebody said to me the other day ‘will it be a dis­trac­tion?’” said Mel­lon. “Chelsea at home? Jose Mour­inho? Please give me a dis­trac­tion like that ev­ery sin­gle sea­son in my ca­reer!

“I don’t re­ally be­lieve there would have been a bet­ter draw for us. I think it ticks so many boxes at the minute.

“We’ve got a lot to think about be­fore­hand, and of course you need luck, but we want to make sure that we’re gal­vanised by the en­ergy around the place know­ing we’ve got such a big game on the hori­zon.

“I want the play­ers to take their fan­tas­tic train­ing ground per­for­mances onto the foot­ball pitch be­cause we en­cour­age them to pass it and to be ag­gres­sive in get- ting the ball back.

“Con­fi­dence is mas­sive and it’s very frag­ile, so all the time you’ve just got to be en­cour­ag­ing and keep say­ing to your play­ers that it’s OK to make a mis­take but learn from it.”


Mel­lon signed no fewer than 17 play­ers over the sum­mer, look­ing to bring a change in for­tunes after the Shrews were rel­e­gated from League One last sea­son.

And hav­ing placed his side in the play-off places be­fore the week­end it would be fair to say Mel­lon has started to work his magic al­ready.

The likes of Nathaniel KnightPer­ci­val and Mickey Demetriou, young de­fend­ers with roots in Non-League foot­ball and signed in the sum­mer, have epit­o­mised the con­fi­dence around the place.

But with a long way still to go, Mel­lon claims his play­ers will have to con­tinue find­ing so­lu­tions to the hard­ships and strug­gles there will no doubt be this sea­son.

“I think be­cause it’s such a new group, and ev­ery­thing is so fresh, we’re work­ing so hard to­gether to try to build ev­ery­thing – as the chal­lenges are com­ing we’re re­ally em­brac­ing them,” added the ex-Fleet­wood man­ager.

“When they are go­ing up against th­ese big clubs they are en­joy­ing the chal­lenge and just test­ing them­selves against them with no fear, so it’s re­ally en­cour­ag­ing.

“We brought in 17 play­ers in the sum­mer, pretty much all at the same time and then we had some young play­ers that were left over from last sea­son. It’s been so pleas­ing to see how they’ve all at­tacked the ideas that we have.

“I knew Nathaniel Knight-Per­ci­val and I knew Mickey Demetriou from my time in the Con­fer­ence and one thing you get from them is that they fight and scrap.

“They’ve played a lot of Non­League games and they don’t care who they come up against, they’ll go toe to toe with you and they will fight to try and come out on top.

“I’ve en­joyed the work that we’ve done, I’m just cau­tious to say that we’ve achieved any­thing yet.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

SHREW BEAUTY: Micky Mel­lon after see­ing his Shrews­bury Town side beat Cham­pi­onship high­fly­ers Nor­wich City

TAKE NAT! Nathaniel Knight-Per­ci­val salutes the Town crowd

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