After a difficult start to the 2015-16 season, Micky Mellon has called on his Shrewsbury Town players to display greater passion when they take on Crystal Palace in the second round of the League Cup.
Shrewsbury were promoted as runners-up in League Two last season and have struggled early on in their new surroundings, taking just two points from four matches.
A James Collins goal 20 minutes from time secured a 1-1 draw at Oldham Athletic on Saturday, but Mellon was less than satisfied with the performance.
“We’ve got to start with that enthusiasm and love for the game from the first minute because I just don’t understand it,” he said.
“Everyone who knows anything about my teams since I’ve been here knows they have to fight because if they can’t, they won’t last with me – I want people who battle and are proud of what we do.
“I want us to fight for the jersey and for each other. It’s not about putting it in, it’s about working smarter and doing the job the players have been asked to do.
“Too many didn’t do that against Oldham. It just took us far too long to get going.
“We had a chat afterwards and we’re miffed as to why we it took us so long to get tight and play with any freedom and get going.”
Shrewsbury knocked out teams from a higher league in each of the first three rounds of last season’s League Cup before being beaten by eventual winners Chelsea, and they were at it again in this year’s first round, dispatching Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Ewood Park.
Their hosts on Tuesday, Palace, have made a strong start in the Premier League, with wins over Norwich City and Aston Villa sandwiching a spirited defeat to Arsenal.
“The fans are great and we feel as though we owe them something so it was great to get a win for them,” said midfielder James McArthur following the weekend’s 2-1 win over Villa.
“Now we just need to keep pushing and keep our feet on the ground and try to win as many games as possible.”