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Comment: Shrewsbury Town team settled – off the pitch at least

Sam Ricketts has completed an essential part of his close season recruitment by assembling his new Shrewsbury Town backroom team.

The Town coaching staff takes on a new-look appearance from this summer with a trio of new faces in the building.

Graham Barrow, Andy Johnson and Brian Jensen will be absolutely integral to any success Shrewsbury enjoy next season and beyond.

Fans want transfers and new signings so they can begin debating how Town will fare in League One next season.

And Ricketts has added Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Daniel Udoh, Steve Morison and Aaron Pierre to his ranks – but the three that will join the manager in the dugout could prove more important.

This summer is the boss’s time to put his stamp on not only his playing squad but also his management staff. With Danny Coyne and Marc Lindsey already moved on, Ricketts has done just that.

Ricketts was happy to be joining a staff including fellow Welshmen Coyne and Eric Ramsay last December, but the manager wanted to make changes.

You could argue that a manager is only as good as his backroom staff and, after a lot of upheaval at Town this summer, Ricketts will hope he has found the right formula. All successful bosses need the right team around them.

It is not all change. Ramsay remains first-team coach after Ricketts said his young compatriot impressed last season.

Also remaining in the dugout is head of performance Jon Pitts, a big player in Ricketts’ plans. Pitts works in studying the finest of details for marginal gains.

Physio Jordan Beech, sports therapist Gregg Jones and head of recruitment and performance analysis Adam Henshall remain in their roles.

On paper the three new additions to Town’s coaching staff look astute. There are more bodies in the building and all have backgrounds at good levels.

Assistant manager Barrow brings invaluable experience to the party. He takes a role that was previously vacant – Ricketts has not worked with a No.2 at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

But Barrow, his right-hand man at former club Wrexham, knows how the manager works and vice versa.

The vastly experienced former Wigan coach, who turned 65 earlier this month, is said to be a firm but fair operator who will take no nonsense at the club’s Sundorne Castle base. But players should find working under Barrow rewarding.

Ricketts will be grateful for the addition as Barrow will prove a useful soundboard and somebody who can offer advice through experience. The Welshman, still in the infancy of his managerial career, will need advice from those around him – and guidance from an assistant with almost 30 years in coaching could prove a huge benefit.

Fitness coach Johnson will play the least familiar role to supporters – but could be Town’s most shrewd acquisition this summer.

If his CV is anything to go by, the former Stoke, Birmingham and Blackburn man looks to be an operator used to working at an impressive standard.

Johnson’s role is to whip the Shrewsbury squad into shape and ensure the players are as fit and sharp as they can possibly be when the action begins.

Points can be won and lost from the work that goes on during these weeks. If the players are not at the standard, like this time 12 months ago, the team will pay the price.

Fans were unhappy to see Coyne depart but Ricketts insisted he made his decision ‘for the benefit of Shrewsbury Town’ and the appointment of Jensen, pictured inset, looks to be the final piece of his coaching jigsaw.

The Dane’s playing record is not to be sniffed at and he got his coaching career off to the best possible start with promotion from League two at Bury. Goalkeepers are yet to come through the door but they should be in safe hands with Jensen.

Ricketts will feel more at home at the Meadow with his own staff behind him as he sets about truly putting his stamp on the club.

And now the manager is assembling his own group of players to work under the backroom staff he has assembled, fans will expect to see results.

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