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Sam Ricketts Pre Newcastle United U21s

7 October 2019

Manager Sam Ricketts talks about tomorrow evening's fixture as Town host Newcastle United U21's. The game will be Town's second fixture of The Trophy, after playing Port Vale at the start of September.

Sam was asked if it was tough to scout the Newcastle side which will be made up from mainly their U21 players.

"We just go back and watch what games we can really, we go back and watch recent games that we think are going be relevant. It's hard because it's a 21's fixture, but they can also play over-aged players, which can be anyone, so there are three or four positions which can be filled by anyone in the Newcastle first-team squad. You never know quite what you're going to face so, we'll have to concentrate on ourselves and get ourselves ready and be ready to face any different shapes or formations and players that can get thrown at us."

Town are currently limited with defensive options as Omar Beckles, and Aaron Pierre are on International Duty, and Ethan Ebanks-Landell is currently out injured with a slight hamstring problem. But players like Brad Walker are able to slot into that role. "It doesn't help us playing a game like this because we are missing Omar and Pierre and Ethan is injured, that's three out of four centre backs who are unavailable straight away. Ryan Giles is away as well. So, we're forced into some changes, even if we don't want to, we're forced into five or six changes straight away. We have got players who can play in those positions and opportunities for players to come in and play as well."

Brad Walker joined Town last season before returning to Wrexham on loan; this has been his first season in a Town shirt. "Brad is a really good size, good technically with the ball. He can play in several positions in midfield and the defence, he's probably grown up with playing in all over those positions. With us playing with three centre backs, he can probably play in all of those, and in midfield as well. He's a player that as the weeks and months go past, he's gradually settling into his surroundings and settling into being at League One level again. I think you can see in his body language, the way he approaches training and coming on in games, he's feeling more settled at this level and allowing his natural ability to come through."

Last time Town played in The trophy it was a disappointing result as Town lost against Port Vale at Vale Park. "I think in the Port Vale game we moved the ball really well. We just didn't create enough, and we didn't have enough shots or have enough efforts on goal, so we have to get back to that. We're just trying to maintain the progression and momentum we're building, and this is another game to try and do that."

"We certainly want to win the game and continue that momentum. It's been a good start to the season, and it's an opportunity for some players to impress and some players to get minutes, but ultimately, we want to win the game, and there are players who won on Saturday, and there are some players who unfortunately weren't involved. We can't involve everyone so it's an opportunity to impress and get on the field and state their claim to get in the starting 11."

On Saturday we saw Town's number 9 Callum Lang walk-off injured. Sam updates us on Callum. "Callum Lang had to go off injured on Saturday. We're still awaiting the full assessment of the injury, and it's not looking like he'll be available for Tuesday definitely, whilst we're still waiting for the results. Everyone else is OK, a few knocks and niggles, but apart from that, we're OK. We're obviously just missing the lads on international duty as well."



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