Sam Ricketts looks forward to this Saturday’s game against Rochdale and wants to maintain the performances from Town’s two previous League games.
Rochdale were in a similar position to Town during the 2018/19 season; however, they are looking to improve and progress over the 2019/20 campaign.
Sam had his say: “Everyone wants to improve on last year, and we’re no different. We got off to a great start with Portsmouth, which was probably better than what anyone anticipated and then MK Dons was a 50/50 game. Even though I’m still saying we should be better, but it could’ve gone either way and unfortunately it didn’t go our way and now we roll onto Rochdale on Saturday.”
“Rochdale will be a good game. We’ve played two league games; we’ve won one and lost one. We shouldn’t have really lost the MK Dons one. We would’ve won it another day but unfortunately, we lost the game. Max hasn’t really had a save to make in two league games, so you have to put everything into context. Look forward and positive and manage this game and the next few games whilst we’re waiting for everyone to come back and again, just to be positive.”
Sam has seen what Rochdale have to offer this season. “Rochdale are playing a different brand of football this year. They’re quite exciting to watch to be honest, they move the ball really well. It should be a good test for us. It will be something we’re ready for and looking forward to.”
After having a few days to reflect on Tuesday evenings game, Sam shared his thoughts; “We had to make a changes for a number of reasons, one, because we’re nursing injuries and we have to look after three or four lads coming back on top of the injuries we’re already suffering like Ollie Norburn and Josh Laurent. It hampers the midfield area of the pitch as well as you wanting to give young lads a chance to play and give them an opportunity and that’s what the club needs to be.”
“We want to promote youth and we want to get players in from our academy, we need to give them opportunities and for the stand out performers like young James Rowland. So that’s why you try and do what we did and unfortunately, we came up against a very experienced, organised side, who last year were playing Championship football. But we were very young, and they were a team that have the ability to have two full teams of experienced players and we’re not at this point.”
With playing many youngsters on Tuesday Sam tells us about the importance of the youth. “We need players to have played 90 minutes and get some game time under their belt, because we’re into a busy period and we are carrying injuries and we’ve not got the biggest depth of squad which is fine. But when you’re missing two players from the same position, from midfield, with Ollie Norburn who’s one of the best in the league and Josh Laurent who made a big impact. He was only fit to come on in the Portsmouth game, but you could see the impact he made but unfortunately, he got injured again so we can’t use him. We are very light and very delicate so you have to preserve the next couple of weeks the best we can until we get those players back.”
Sam quickly updated us on Ro-Shaun Williams. “There’s another loss for us really. He just tweaked his hamstring, nothing too serious. It’s two to three weeks but in two to three weeks you’ve played three or four games. That’s the problem this time of year, you could be two weeks and miss one or two games. At this part, we’re missing three or four, but we’ve just been a little bit unlucky basically.”
With having a few injuries being picked up over the past few weeks, Sam explains more; “There’s a few players with niggles and things coming out, like from the MK Dons game that we need to look after as well. There’s awful lot that goes into it and that’s the consequence. Josh Laurent has never had a muscle injury, yet he’s suffered two in pre-season. There’s nothing we’ve done differently to him or with anyone else. He’s one of the fittest in the squad. Another freak accident such as Lenny doing his cruciate with no one around him. Ollie Norburn is similar when we went out to Portugal. It was a freak accident really and when you start adding it up, it certainly dampens the starting 11.”
Town look to continue their league form this Saturday as they face Rochdale here at Montgomery Waters Meadows.