Sam Ricketts previews Town's Emirates FA Cup replay against Bradford City
News broke earlier in the week that Joe Parkinson had left to become Assistant Manager at Hartlepool United. On Saturday it was announced that Dean Whitehead would become the new First Team Coach. Sam Ricketts spoke for the first time about why he felt Dean was the perfect fit for the club.
“With Joe Parkinson leaving, it left a space that we wanted to fill. Dean who is similar to myself, started coaching a year and a half ago now, he’s had a great career but taken that into his coaching at Huddersfield with the academy there and in and around the first team there, he’s certainly a great addition to the club.
“He’ll add an awful lot to the backroom staff, he studies everything in detail, he’s was a good player who’s worked his way through the leagues so he understands what the players are trying to achieve here. He played at the top level for several years, he understands what’s needed to be a top player and perform, he’s really keen to get going, he’ll drive sessions.
“Obviously for any of the midfield players here, it’s someone they can go and bounce off, Dean will certainly look to help improve them if he can.
“I’ve known Dean for a long time, we came through the ranks at Oxford since we were about 12 years old."
After Wednesday's game against Macclesfield Sam gave the players a few days off in order for the players to have some recuperation time with no game on the weekend.
“It was important the players had some rest, this time it was more recuperation than anything else, the other breaks have been a lot more physical work, but this one was to help get them ready for the next big block of games.
“They’ve come back refreshed after a couple of days although it seems to have gone very quickly. They’re all back in and it was a good day’s training yesterday."
Aaron and Omar returned home earlier than scheduled so they could be in contention for Tuesday night's game although there journey home was less than straight forward.
“Unfortunately they had a really bad journey back, their flight was delayed then they had to stay over in hotels and have seven-hour waits in airports so they’ve not had a good journey back at all so unfortunately, they’ve only just got back now so we’ll assess them and see where they are up to.”
Sam isn't expecting too many difference from the Bradford side that visited the Montgomery Waters Meadow a few weeks ago.
“I’m expecting similar to what we saw last week, they’ve got that way about them where they are used to winning games or getting results on a regular basis so there was no real surprise the other week when they came out, worked hard and frustrated us.
“We were disappointed to concede the goal the way we did, we moved the ball well to get back in the game and neither side could really get that killer blow. We know we’ll be in for a tough replay.
“The lads have had a few days off to rest and recuperate and they are now ready to go into this game and start brightly in order to make sure we are through into the next round.”
Sam confirmed that Ollie Norburn is in contention for tomorrow night's game.
“Ollie had a viral infection which meant he couldn’t fly out but he is certainly in for contention for tomorrow night yeah.”