Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts aims to get squad into shape with summer emphasis on fitness
Manager Sam Ricketts will prioritise Shrewsbury’s fitness programme this summer to ensure his players do not tail-off in matches next season.
Ricketts feels it was ‘fairly evident’ that his side struggled to play with the required intensity, particularly in games in quick succession.
So the Montgomery Waters Meadow boss intends to use pre-season, which begins next month, to drill his players to the required levels.
Ricketts has stressed his desire to ‘control the controllables’ and sees his squad’s fitness as an element that cannot be below par.
“Fitness is huge, We have to be fit. Everything we can control we have to to the best of our ability,” said Ricketts.
“We have to be able to run and run well, and not just for 90 minutes.
“If we’re playing again a couple of days later then we have to do it again.
“I think at times this year it’s been fairly evident that hasn’t been possible. There was drop off in second halves in games.
“That comes back to fitness, that’s the big one and what we can’t let happen.”
Town appeared low on fitness under John Askey at the beginning of last season and the interim management of Danny Coyne and Eric Ramsay worked hard to increase the tempo in training at the back end of 2018.
“I was aware of that. We played an awful lot of games and you can see the real struggle in going two games in quick succession, especially playing in the diamond (midfield formation),” Ricketts added.
“They could do it initially but once you get five, six or seven games in it became apparent it wasn’t possible.
“That was another reason for changing shape. But we have to do it game after game, Saturday to Tuesday, be the side that is relentless.”
Ricketts felt there was evidence of the squad’s fitness improving as they began scoring goals late in games, rather than conceding.
Town netted crucial second-half goals against Wycombe, Southend, Scunthorpe and Gillingham on their way to safety.
He added: “When I first came in we were the team conceding late goals.
“As the season went on it was us scoring late and that’s a real big trait to have. When we went Saturday to Saturday it was us scoring late.
“Once the quick succession of games came in you could see the fragility in the fitness side and the drop off which was disappointing to see.”