Sam Ricketts' goalkeeper decision for Shrewsbury opener
Sam Ricketts is facing a decision on who he names in goal at Portsmouth tomorrow – as new recruit Matija Sarkic trains with his team-mates for the first time today.
Shrewsbury Town head to Fratton Park for their first game of the new League One season, with the boss mulling over whether to stick with Harry Burgoyne or hand a debut to Wolves loanee and Montenegro international Sarkic.
Sarkic, 23, was on the bench for Montenegro as they enjoyed Nations League victories in Cyprus and Luxembourg and is back in England ready to train with his new side today.
But, to this point, Ricketts’ only meeting in person with the ex-Villa keeper was in Town’s friendly victory over Wolves’ under-23s last month.
“He’s not been with us unfortunately,” Ricketts said of Sarkic. “We played against him a few weeks ago, that was the first time I had eyes on him.
“He’s definitely got potential. We’re pushing for him to continue where he left off at (former loan club) Livingston, to continue that form.
“We’ll see how he looks in training, how he recovers from travelling in the international duty and a new environment, we’ll see how he settles down.
“Mati hasn’t been here yet, it’s a big ask for him to play having not been to the club, met the players. I’ve not met him personally.”
Ludlow’s Burgoyne, who joined Town from Wolves in January, had to wait 10 months to make his Shrewsbury debut but endured a night to forget in Teesside last week, finding himself at fault for two of Middlesbrough’s goals. But Ricketts has backed Burgoyne to respond.
Defender Aaron Pierre returned to training this week and is in contention to make Town’s back four at Portsmouth, who took part in the League One play-offs, losing in the semi-final on penalties to Oxford, when football resumed in July.
The Grenada skipper had missed several training sessions before Town’s Carabao Cup tie at Middlesbrough.
Town captain Ollie Norburn is not ready to start as Ricketts and his staff take care in deciding a suitable date for his return from a knee injury.
The boss added: “He’s progressing really well, in full training, we’re assessing him all the time and upping his levels. We will get to a point where he’s good for 20, 40 or 45 minutes of a game but he’s on the right lines, looking fit and strong.”