Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill ‘on the mend’ in hospital after Covid-19 scare

Phil Blanche, PA
·4-min read

Shrewsbury manager Steve Cotterill has been in intensive care suffering from coronavirus, with his assistant Aaron Wilbraham admitting ahead of their FA Cup tie at Southampton it was a “scary” time.

Cotterill, the former Bristol City, Stoke and Sunderland boss, was taken to hospital in Bristol last week following a Covid-19 outbreak at the League One club.

The 56-year-old spent part of the weekend being given oxygen in intensive care and he remains in hospital.

“It was scary news and it did affect me,” Shrewsbury number two Wilbraham said.

“It’s been a crazy time and it was quite worrying. But Sunday and Monday has been non-stop improvement.

“He’s on the mend so it’s definitely good signs, it’s a relief to everyone.

“I’ve spoken to him in the last couple of days and I can tell he’s getting better.

“His voice is getting better and he’s starting to crack a couple of jokes. He’s told me to tell the boys he’ll be watching (the Southampton game) from his hospital bed, so they’d better be at it.”

Wilbraham said Cotterill was taken to hospital after his situation at home worsened.

“Steve’s wife was worried and she was relieved when he went to hospital, that he was in safe hands and was going to get better,” Wilbraham said.

“It just goes to show what can happen. The gaffer’s been really careful, he wouldn’t open a door without a tissue. So it’s crazy how it’s happened.

“Everyone was worried as he was struggling to speak before and I’ve never known him to take a day off.

“Even when he’s been in hospital I’ve still been getting the odd text message about team news and tactics.

“It shows what kind of guy he is. We want him to get as well as he can and I know the minute he can be back in the building, he will.”

Shrewsbury’s third-round tie at St Mary’s was postponed following the coronavirus outbreak at the Shropshire club.

The Shrews’ Sundorne Castle training ground was closed for 10 days and underwent a deep cleanse before the squad could return.

The players returned to training on Friday and have returned negative tests, with Wilbraham saying one player remains in self-isolation.

Wilbraham and interim first-team coach Dave Longwell will be in charge at Southampton, as Shrewsbury end a three-week playing break with the incentive of a fourth-round home tie against Arsenal.

“If anything it’s focused the players to do well for the manager,” said Wilbraham, who last season scored for Rochdale against Newcastle to become one of the oldest goalscorers in FA Cup history at the age of 40.

“They’ve realised the seriousness of the situation and how worrying it’s been.

Rochdale AFC v Newcastle United – FA Cup – Third Round – Crown Oil Arena
Shrewsbury assistant manager Aaron Wilbraham scored a famous FA Cup goal for Rochdale last season (Richard Sellers/PA)

“They’ve taken that into training and to prove a point, they know the manager will be watching on and they want to make him proud.

“There’s good fitness levels throughout the group, and the lads were able to carry on with fitness programmes when the training ground was closed.

“It can never replicate proper football training, but we’ve got that into the legs in the last few days.

“We can see already we’re back up to those levels and we’ll give the best account we can against a team doing well in the Premier League.”