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Interviews

Sam Ricketts Pre Sunderland

24 October 2019

Sam Ricketts talks to Shrewsweb ahead of Shrewsbury’s Sky Bet League One fixture as they host Sunderland.

Sunderland are always a hard test, however after a rocky start to their 2019/20 League One campaign, Town look to win the three points. “I think they’ve been underperforming for the size of their club certainly," Said Sam. "In the early part of this year, they have been steady, not really one way or the other and obviously with a change of manager going in, Wycombe beating them at the weekend, and they played Tranmere mid-week and I think it was their best performance so far, attacking wise. Probably the best attacking side we’ve seen throughout this league this season. It shows you the quality they’ve got there, which means they might just be starting to scratch the surface on reaching some potential.” 

“I think you have to identify what they’re trying to do, what they’re real key strengths are, they’ve got a number of good players who have found themselves out of the team and some have just come back under the new manager with a new lease of life, so we have to respect that and then you also have to try and impose yourselves a little bit and identify how you can cause them problems because no matter who you’re playing against you can always cause them problems.

"I think it would be a really positive win and a great time to get three points and keep us rolling like we are. We’re doing well, a win certainly helps that and improves that, but we are ticking over nicely. We’ve got plenty to work on and improve but we kind of like take two steps forward and one step back but that is always going in the right direction whilst we’re still trying to bed in a real young and experienced side.” Sam talks ahead of Saturday’s fixture as The Black Cats travel to Montgomery Waters Meadow.

Sam mentioned in his post match on Tuesday night that he saw a lack of intensity against Gillingham in the first half but explained how these things can't always be antcipated. “I think these things can happen in games and not everyone plays to their maximum every game, and it’s probably the feeling of disappointment of drawing against Gillingham, it probably comes down to the levels that we can hit and have hit at times this year.

"The longer the season goes on the more consistent you want to be with that, the longer we get experience of playing with each other, more experience from the players and we’ve still got four, five, six players who haven’t played 50 league games, starting the game, very inexperienced in a way.

"But in one way it’s a sign, a good sign to say that we’re not happy with the draw because we’re not and we certainly weren’t happy with performance first half. Second half, we got going a bit but still never really hit the heights of what we’re certainly capable of and that’s probably a positive although we’re disappointed, but it does show where we’re trying to get to.”

Town saw striker Dan Udoh come off injured Tuesday evening, Sam updates us on how Udoh is. “I’ve just seen him walk in now, I’ve just asked how he is and he’s a bit swollen and he’s hoping to bounce back in the next 24, 48 hours so we’ll see how it is. We’re just waiting on the results because he did go for a scan as more of a precaution more than anything. I think we’re just waiting on the results for that.”

Speaking on injuries, Sam talked about Ethan Ebanks-Landell and his whereabouts on his return to training. “Ethan still hasn’t returned fully to training, he can do little bits, but you have to be careful with a hamstring. I don’t want to rush him and force him out for another three or four weeks or so, so we’ll have to be not cautious because he’s not back into full training but we have to make sure that when he does come back in that we’re not putting him in danger or re-injury.”

Romain Vincelot is due to go into surgery for an operation on his hip after struggling with it over the past few weeks. “Romain is going to go and have hip surgery, the same as Andy Murray so he’s using Andy Murray as his guinea pig or example really so he can have this injury and come back. I’ve never really seen that many players so excited to have surgery because he’s been in pain for a little while with it and he’s so excited to get that. He’s fully focused on getting back fully fit and be back playing in his mind for another four or five years. I think Andy Murray is what Romain is so excited about seeing that he’s come back in tennis where that is really jarring on your hips and he’s come back and made a really good recovery. No one has done it in football, but I don’t think many people have done it. Romain is that mid-set driven that he wants to be the first football player to do that.

Sam explained that it's currently unknown how long Romain's recovery time will be. "It’s obviously not going to be a short one, it’s going to be a good few months, and it’s how he comes back from the injury, how quickly through the process once he gets back in but you’re looking at a good few months.”

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