Shrewsbury reckon Covid-stricken Steve Cotterill should be a contender for League One manager of the season after continuing to boss them from bed.
Cotterill,56, has endured a nightmare since testing positive for coronavirus on January 1.
He spent 33 days in intensive care in Bristol Royal Infirmary before going home in February only to be later re-admitted for a further 16 days.
Now the former Nottingham Forest and Bristol City manager is recovering at home once more after his ordeal.
But the hands-on workaholic has continued to pick Town’s team throughout and give team talks and advice over the phone despite suffering from Covid-pneumonia.
Cotterill called at half-time as Town recorded a 2-1 win at Burton in midweek for their 11th win in 24 games since he took charge in November.
Asked if Cotterill deserved to be a contender for League One manager of the season after dragging struggling Shrewsbury to 17th, first team coach David Longwell,46, replied: “Without a doubt.
“You look at the League table and think maybe not.
“But when you consider where we have come from and how many points we have managed to pick up, then of course he should.
“For somebody who has been in hospital and yet to still be involved in everything is an award in itself.
“I genuinely don’t think anyone else would do that.
“It is who he is as a man, he is so strong and passionate about his work.
“It just doesn’t stop him.
“He is in contact everyday and fully involved.
“He still has such an influence over the players and staff.
“Even though he is not here, he is here.
“He has such an obsession about making sure everything is done right.”
Longwell has stepped up from academy manager to help run the first team alongside assistant manager Aaron Wilbraham in Cotterill’s absence.
The pair are preparing for Saturday’s visit of Portsmouth, who Cotterill used to manage from June 2010-October 2011.
They are not yet sure when Cotterill will be fit to return to active duty on the touchline but explained he will still play a big role in the meantime.
Longwell added: “He was on the phone the other night at half-time on the loudspeaker and after the game.
“Then he was on the phone to Aaron the next day for a couple of hours looking at the next match.
“Hence why the team has done so well since he has come into the club.
“He got checked out the other day by the specialist and is making steady progress.
“He is trying to get out walking again to build up his strength and fitness.
“From that point of view he is doing well and progressing.
“There is no definitive time on it when he maybe back but hopefully that will be in the near future.”