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Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst calls for more substitutions in play-offs after Wembley defeat

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Paul Hurst says he has been extremely proud of his players throughout the season following Shrewsbury’s League One play-off final defeat to Rotherham.

Paul Hurst has called for rule changes in the play-offs after his side were beaten by Rotherham in extra-time at Wembley on Sunday.

Richard Wood scored twice, the second coming in the 103rd minute, as the Millers secured a 2-1 victory in the Sky Bet League One and promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

But Hurst, who was forced to use all his substitutions in normal time, believes the game descended into a "farce" due to the conditions.

"We had a good spell after we'd equalised but the game became a farce because of the heat and people were cramping for both teams," said the Shrewsbury boss. "I'm not just saying it because we've lost, but you play 48 games and also cup games in a season. I know what the rules are but it wasn't a good ending to the game, you should get more subs.

"Maybe it adds to the drama for the neutral watching but you can't really play how'd you'd like. Congratulations to Warney (Paul Warne), though, and everyone at Rotherham United for returning at the first attempt."

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Highlights of the Sky Bet League One Play-off final between Rotherham and Shrewsbury.

Rotherham will be joined back in the Championship by Wigan and Blackburn next season, the three teams that were relegated in 2016/17. And Hurst believes that fact shows the gap between the leagues.

"The fact three teams that all went down have been promoted suggests it's very difficult and they have a big advantage," he said.

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"I don't mind admitting that I had worries over the gulf in terms of budget and finance if we'd got promoted. It would have been a vast challenge and it would have been very difficult, but it was one we wanted to tackle.

"The bigger challenge now is trying to get a team and squad together to even get close to replicating what we've done this season, that's the balancing act and the difficulty. We've talked about raising expectations but we've blown the roof off them in terms of that [this season]. Can we do that again next season? That's a massive challenge and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it."

Shrewsbury were among the favourites for relegation at the start of the season but spent much of the campaign competing with Wigan and Blackburn for automatic promotion.

Hurst said he's proud of what his side have done but admitted there is still a feeling of disappointment after failing to take the final step.

"My stomach is telling me to be disappointed but my head is telling me to be very proud," he said. "We've come so close to getting promoted but naturally everyone connected with Shrewsbury Town wanted that fairytale ending and we haven't got that."

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