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Paul Hurst embarks on a new ‘Big Challenge’ at Portman Road

Photo: Getty Images

Ipswich Town

Paul Hurst embarks on a new ‘Big Challenge’ at Portman Road

Paul Hurst has been named as the new manager of Ipswich Town.

The 41-year-old led Shrewsbury Town to the League One play-off final in this past season only to see the Shrews bow out to Rotherham United last Sunday.

A sour end to a successful season, Shrewsbury were rarely outside of the top three in the division, adding to Hurst’s impressive managerial record in the lower leagues.

Starting his managerial career at Ilkeston Town before moving on to Boston United, it was Hurst’s record at Grimsby as well as Shrewsbury that has gained him the traction and notoriety to allow him the opportunity to replace someone as pristine as Mick McCarthy.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Hurst said: “I know it’s going to be a big challenge, but it’s one I can’t wait to take on…I’ve not managed at this level before, so I have something to prove.”

Ipswich have been well drilled over the past six seasons in discipline, strength and a robust style of play under McCarthy; stark opposite to Hurst’s Shrewsbury last season who played with pace and fluidity.

 

The Ipswich board did not allow McCarthy a budget to compete with the elites in the division and as a result, the Tractor Boys have finished in the irrelevancies of mid table in each of their last two seasons.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

With no obvious sign of investment awaiting Hurst this Summer, there is a feeling of cautiousness around Portman Road.

Jack Ross and Frank Lampard were both front runners to land the Town job ahead of Hurst at one stage, but the pair rejected the opportunity for other competition – Ross to a club which has suffered successive relegations and is now in League One – that should spell concern for Ipswich fans.

However, Hurst is a manager who is accustomed to a small budget. Shrewsbury were able to compete with Blackburn and Wigan all last season, whilst finishing in front of other larger budgeted teams, such as; Plymouth, Bradford, Peterborough, Portsmouth and Charlton to only name a few.

Hurst would go on in his comments to BBC Sport to explain that funding is not as vital as it may appear: “We have got to try and bridge whatever gaps exist between us and our competition. It’s certainly not all about money.”

With Ipswich currently the 23rd favourites to win the division at 50/1 – according to Sky Bet – the book makers do not appear to have much faith in the appointment or the current group of players.

But Paul Hurst is used to being the underdog in his managerial career. With the list of names available to Ipswich’s budget it appears to be a realistic and satisfactory appointment.

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