JOHN Coleman was glad of a weekend off as they prepare to play in front fans for the first time this season at Shrewsbury Town tonight.

With the Reds out of the FA Cup and no league game arranged, Coleman’s players had a welcome rest following a hectic run of games.

But Coleman, who used his free time to do a bit of scouting, admitted a Wednesday night game – rather than the usual Tuesday midweek slot – has upset his preparations.

“I went to watch a player in the lower leagues on Saturday and watched a bit of football on Sunday, the FA Cup, which was good,” Coleman told the club website.

“The lads needed the rest, it’s been quite hectic.

“There have been a couple of long away trips and quite a tough game against Crewe here at home.

“The games are going to come thick and fast over Christmas and we have got to be prepared. I don’t like playing on Wednesday, it upsets the rhythm of what you are doing and gives you a day less to prepare for the Saturday game but we have to deal with the hand we are dealt.”

The Reds have been dealt an injury blow with Mo Sangare suffering a reoccurance of the hamstring injury he picked up on the opening day of the season.

The Newcastle loanee only made his comeback in last Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Crewe but suffered another hamstring injury in training.

“Mo had an unfortunate slip and reactivated the hamstring injury so he will be out for a couple of months,” said Coleman. “He is a cracking lad and was in tears yesterday and I feel for him but I know he is a strong character and he will battle his way back.”

Chelsea’s Tariq Uwakwe should be back in the frame though after a knee injury has kept him sidelined.

“Tariq trained yesterday which is good so hopefully he will be in contention," Coleman added.

Sean McConville sits out the second of a three-game suspension while defender Ross Sykes is still out after having a minor operation.

The trip to the Montgomery Waters Meadow will be played in front of 2,200 fans – as the Shropshire club is in tier 2 – and will be former Burnley manager, Steve Cotterill’s first league game in charge since replacing Sam Ricketts as boss.

The Shrews are currently second from bottom in the League One table with one win so far this season but they are through to the third round of the FA Cup having beaten non-league Oxford City 1-0 after extra-time on Sunday.

“I have seen quite a lot of them, they are not a second from bottom team that’s for sure,” said Coleman.

“They still have the same players so we know how those players will play.

“Steve might tweak a few things and change formations or patterns of play but the same players are still there and we know what their strengths are and we have to come up with a plan to try and negate them.”

The Reds have kept five consecutive league clean sheets and are ninth in the table, with games in hand. They have lost just three of their 11 league games so far this season.

“You can’t get too carried away with statistics, you have got to keep going day to day and the most important thing is winning games,” Coleman added.

“You can see the lads have got the bit between their teeth, not so much to keep a clean sheet but to win the games.”