First Team Manager Sam Ricketts, explained how everyone is pleased to be back to work as his squad look forward to a trip to Sky Bet Championship side, Middlesbrough, for the first round of the Carabao Cup on Friday.
Sam Ricketts spoke with high amounts of optimism about the return of competitive football. However, he understands that it takes time for new arrivals to get back into the running after having a lack of pre-season due to the pandemic.
On the short pre-season.
“It has been very short, very quick. With pre-season, it’s usually a short break that the players have to experience but the players have had months and months off.
“We have only really had four or five weeks before the first competitive game and it seems to have flown by. I think it’s the same for every team so that pre-season effect will be there for at least a good few weeks into the season. I think it will be October when we start to feel fully up to speed for the new season.
“I think everyone is pleased to be back to work, the togetherness of the group has definitely been tested but I think what has helped, is the fact that a large amount of the players from last year, are still here. Generally, the core of the group are here, that goes for staff and players, so for the club, the unity is vital.”
On new signing Scott High.
“He’s a player that Dean Whitehead knows well from his time at Huddersfield. He’s come in, I don’t think many, or anyone would’ve heard of him beforehand. He’s just got on with his football which is high energy, good quality and I think it’s come out during training and in games that he’s a player with big potential, who’s eager to do well.”
On the return of competitive football.
“We want to get back into it, ideally we’d have wanted some time longer to get ready, but we understand that every team is in the same scenario.
“The hard bit is that players are going to be coming in without any sort of physical training or game time to get going before the season. Marlon Fossey for example, he would’ve been training with Fulham but stopped three or four weeks ago. The task is to get the players up and running as soon as we can, even if we have to use competitive football as a platform to do so.
“Overall, good to get the competitive football back but slightly frustrating that for new arrivals, it’s hard to get them up and running in comparison to the team who have had at least a few weeks of pre-season, but it’s just a fact that we need to deal with.”
On the challenge against Middlesbrough.
“They’re a side who finished the season well. Obviously, they were struggling for large parts of last season form wise and obviously brought Neil Warnock in and the season finished strongly for them with a few good wins late on.
“It’s going to be a really tough game against some very good players. With them being in the Premier League not so long ago, a fair few in their squad have graced the Premier League so it will be a great test for us but something I’m sure the players will be looking forward to.
“We’re going to the Riverside without playing in an empty stadium like that and Middlesbrough would’ve done. Pretty much everything is different, the changing facilities, even how you walk out onto the pitch with one team at a time. All the little different regulations, they would’ve faced for eight or nine games and this for us, is our first one.”