Disappointed Sam Ricketts talks to the press about Town's 2-1 defeat at Vale Park in the opening game of The Leasing.com Trophy.
Town still have chances to get two wins under their belt in order to progress through the groups as long as they secure wins against Newcastle United U21's and Macclesfield Town. "We're in a group so we have to go out and win the next two now. We put a strong side out today, as strong as we could give injuries, international call ups and a few knocks."
Sam's verdict of the defeat was that he was disappointed and frustrated. "First half I thought we were very good. We move the ball really well going 1-0 up. I thought it was the best we've moved the ball. Second half wasn't good enough. I'm really disappointed with the display second half. First half we had plenty of runners and more threatening. Second half, for a number of reasons we stopped having runners."
Town became unlucky as the officials at Vale Park awarded the home side with a soft penalty, given away by Donald Love on David Amoo. Amoo stepped up and placed the ball in Joe Murphy's net to bring the scoreline level.
Talking about the penalty, Sam says; "I just saw us put the ball out for a corner, the referee saw the same and for some reason, the linesman sees it differently. The penalty gets given which you can clearly tell by the players' reaction it isn't one. From my angle and from other angles it isn't a penalty."
With making six changes from Saturday's fixture against Ipswich, Sam talks us through the positives on the 90 minutes at Vale Park. "Donald and Brad Walker came in and I thought they did well. First half we were causing problems, Dan Udoh, Josh Laurent running down the side. Josh Thompson had plenty of energy, Ryan Barnett. Laurent has got another 90 minutes under his belt after returning back from an injury.
Town signed two strikers on deadline day, securing Jason Cummings on a two-year deal and Callum Lang on a season-long loan. "They come in at different levels, Callum's had a really good pre-season but hasn't had many minutes. Jason hasn't had much of a pre-season physically. It'll be really good to get all the players in. We're clearing the injury deck slowly but surely."
With a few players still out with an injury such as Ro-Shaun Williams, Ollie Norburn and Romain Vincelot, Sam quickly updates us. "Ollie is back running, so we'll just have to gauge how he is over this mini pre-season which will be good for him. He did the first two weeks of pre-season and he's been injured since. Hopefully, he's not too far away. Romain, there's an injury there, we've got to gauge that one and see how it goes. It was in training yesterday, he started training and then had to pull out."
Once Town have all players returning from injuries and international duties, Sam will have a headache on choosing the starting 11 after having such a strong squad. "Competition for places is vital because players need to be pushed for their positions. Every time they play, they need to play well to stay in the team."
Town have a week off from a game as Saturday's game against Peterborough has been postponed for a later date. Town will make the long trip down to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday 14th hopefully with a full, strong squad.