Sam Ricketts eyeing a Shrewsbury Town FA Cup upset to Kop Liverpool
Sam Ricketts is urging Shrewsbury to relish the underdog tag against Bristol City as they aim to book a date with world champions Liverpool.
Town and Bristol City contest tonight’s third-round replay at Montgomery Waters Meadow knowing the victors will welcome Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders.
Ricketts’ League One outfit were the better team at Ashton Gate 10 days ago as the sides drew 1-1, but Lee Johnson’s Robins have since returned to winning ways in the Championship and are now just one point from the play-offs.
The fourth round visit of Liverpool to either the Meadow or Bristol will be worth almost £300,000 to the host factoring in £150,000 broadcast fees and the £135,000 third-round prize pot.
Town boss Ricketts, whose side will be playing in front of a larger-than-normal crowd tonight, said: “We have to be (underdogs). We’re against a side riding high in the Championship with a good win at the weekend.
“We’re undoubtedly the underdogs and not expected to do anything but that doesn’t mean, with the magic of the FA Cup, that it isn’t possible to get through.
“We have to focus on this, but the rewards are there. It’s great to play teams and at grounds you wouldn’t normally.
“I’m really looking forward to the FA Cup under the lights at home and hopefully we can create another memorable evening as the underdogs to get through again. They felt in the first tie what a good team we are. They will be under no illusion that they’ll have to play well to beat us.
“But we’re trying to aspire to those performances and knock out what is a really good Bristol City team.”
Victory would take Town through to face Liverpool for only the second time in their history after a fourth round 4-0 defeat 24 years ago.
Should Shrewsbury book their place in round four tonight it will be the first time they have reached that stage in consecutive years since 1984 – where it was achieved four seasons in a row from 1980/81 as Town entered the competition in round three.
The boss, who guided his side past a Stoke replay at this stage last year to book a date with former club Wolves, continued: “It would be a huge game if we got through.
“The best team in the world at the minute, winning the World Club Championship and running away with the Premier League, it’s what the FA Cup is about.
“The carrot to get through can’t be any greater.
“As any player you want to play against the best teams and players and that’s Liverpool. We had it similar last year with a replay at Stoke before Wolves.
“With such a big bonus at the end of it I’m sure it can’t do any harm.”
Asked if the Reds will play a part in his team talk, Ricketts added: “I’m sure it’ll get mentioned at some point.
“It would be a great occasion but firstly we’ve got to beat a really good side
Defender Aaron Pierre was being assessed during training yesterday after illness forced him off early n Saturday.