Sam Ricketts believes that despite the defeat in last weeks' cup match, the new style of play and the camaraderie amongst the squad will lead to more wins and more goals, as Town begin their league campaign away at Portsmouth this Saturday.
In his pre-match press conference, Sam Ricketts discussed his pride in the pre-season work and how he feels the squad looks going into his second full season in charge, as he looks to build on the positives from last season.
On how he feels the pre-season has gone and his excitement to get the underway in the league.
“The squad is in a really good place. Pre-season, I felt went really well and the squad are ready to get going on Saturday.
“I think the first few weeks of the season will still feel a bit like the pre-season and we need to make sure we get back to being robust and get all the lads at full game speed, ready for the rest of year”.
On the game against Portsmouth and what he expects to see from them.
“Honestly I think Portsmouth away is one of the toughest games we will play this season. They are a team that has been in the playoffs the last two years so we know all about their calibre and their quality in this league.
“I know the manager extremely well (Kenny Jackett) and so I know if we come away with the result this weekend, we will have worked really hard to do so.
“Two years ago they lost the playoff final and then last season they bounced back to make the playoffs again, I think last year without their sluggish start they would certainly have been competing for those top two places so we have to be aware that they will be aiming to get off to a better start this year”.
On how the squad is looking injury-wise and the overall fitness of the group.
“In terms of injuries we feel pretty good about the squad, the main fear going into pre-season was muscle injuries but thankfully we have no major ones and that’s certainly a positive result.
“There are a couple of guys with a few niggles be we just have to ease them through and manage their minutes to make sure we keep everyone fit”.
On the defeat last week to Middlesbrough and the positives he can take from the performance.
“I think we surprised a lot of people with how we played but also how well we played against a top Championship team, a big team physically, ultimately we weren’t fancied to get anything from the game but the performance certainly merited a lot of positives moving forward.
“The aim has to be to win more games and score more goals as simple as that and the style you saw us play the other night will certainly give us the opportunity to do that”.
On his ambitions for the year.
“We have to go into every year with the mindset of improving on last year.
“I have been here 18 months and the club are definitely in a better more stable place on and off the pitch and now we have to take the club to where we think it belongs”.
On the togetherness of the squad and the pride he has in that.
“The squad is similar to last year so they all know each other well, and we have a dressing room of good characters that enjoy being around one another and the new lads who have come in can see that.
“We certainly were building that togetherness last season and this season, despite the zoom calls and the pandemic, I think we have really built on that”.