Sam Ricketts’ reflects on tonight’s 4-0 defeat against Rotherham as Town bow out of the Carabao Cup.
With eight changes made from Saturday’s line up against MK Dons, Sam talks to us about his decisions on the youngsters.
“We did make a lot of changes and we went in with a very good midfield partnership. I thought young Rolo (James Rowland) was excellent but you know he’s 17 years old but it’s a club where we have to give players like that a chance and tonight was an opportunity for him. Last year was the Checkatrade, this year he has earnt the right to start tonight and I thought he was excellent.” Sam said.
Sam had a lot of praise his other youngsters, Luke McCormick, Ryan Barnett and newly signed Brad Walker.
“Obviously Ryan Barnett was in the team, Luke McCormick is still only 20 and this is still only his third game in proper football. Brad Walker has just come into the club, so there is an awful lot of players stepping in tonight, stepping up into a game, which, unfortunately, we found ourselves in a game against a team who were in the Championship last season, very good at what they do. At times we found ourselves struggling but at times I thought they showed some real character and drive to carry on going and produce a good couple of moments in the game for players so young.”
With going two down in the first five minutes. Sam talks about the beginning of the game.
“You can’t start a game any worse, and there is no hiding place from that. Simple. The first ball was a long ball and we didn’t deal with it and the next bit of play, it ended up with a through ball and we can’t defend like that. Looking at giving young players some game time, the first three minutes doesn’t give you a chance in the game when you’re playing against a Championship team from last season and coming through that I thought the players, certainly the young ones, showed real character and carried on going. I’ll say again, young James Rowland for 17 years-old was outstanding, which is not the biggest plus of tonight but where we’re at as we plug our young players in. But unfortunately, we just came up against a very good side and we didn’t give ourselves a chance with the first three minutes of the game.”
Sam made eight changes for tonight’s match he explains; “it was always going to be the case, with a few niggles as well following on from the first two games of the season and then because next week we go Saturday Tuesday Saturday. It was a case of necessity really in certain circumstances, but the big one was to also give people game time as well, so players got the game time they needed. Some players got more of a rest than some and some I would’ve liked to have more of a rest before the weekend.”
Sam said, “I think you have to show them what the game was really, what won Rotherham the game, what costs us and show them the good bits and show them that they stuck to it second half and had good character and moved the ball well at times. It was a real struggle as we had a young, inexperienced side playing against a real-good experienced side who last year played in the Championship.”
The Town will be back in League action at the weekend at they host Rochdale at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
“You have to put tonight into perspective, no one wants to get beaten, I certainly don’t want to get beaten. You don’t want to get beaten the way we do with two goals in the first five minutes either. It wasn’t that long ago we beat Portsmouth; it was only 10 days ago at home. Again, a solid performance at MK Dons, we should’ve been coming out the game with something. We were denied three penalties at MK Dons and I think we were denied another one tonight with Shaun Whalley in all instances. Our league form has been solid, we just had to continue that now, in the next games and continue to improve like I’ve always said.”