Shrewsbury Town kids must earn their spot

Sam Ricketts will weigh up whether to give youth a chance in tonight’s EFL Trophy group opener against Newcastle United’s under-21s.

Ryan Barnett of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)
Ryan Barnett of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)

Shrewsbury Town head into tonight’s Montgomery Waters Meadow tie light on first-team numbers.

Academy graduate Ryan Barnett was introduced as a substitute in Town’s League One opener at Portsmouth while Saturday’s bench against Northampton featured Ryan Sears, James Rowland and Louis Lloyd.

Defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell will miss tonight with the head injury sustained against the Cobblers, joining Dave Edwards and Sean Goss in the treatment room – as Ricketts toys with offering game time to those who are yet to feature this season.

Asked if Town’s youngsters will get a chance in the behind-closed-doors EFL Trophy encounter, Ricketts said: “I think when the time is right they certainly will do.

“I’m really pleased with the players we’ve got, delighted with the players coming through the youth system, we saw them in pre-season.

“As and when the time is right I’ll always play younger ones and development players. If I could fill a team with them it’d be perfect.

“They will get the chance because they deserve to. They will play when they are ready, not just because they are there – they will be in the team on merit rather than just to fill numbers.”

Town’s latest recruit, loan winger Shilow Tracey from Tottenham, is not yet available to feature.

Salop are in contact with Tracey’s parent club Spurs about when the winger will be available to make his Shrewsbury bow.

Barnett, from Telford, could be an option as one of Town’s midfield three or wide forwards. Newtown’s Sears, who sees himself as a centre-half and whose long-term future is in the heart of defence, could feature there or at right-back.

“I definitely think they can have an impact (this season) in every way,” Ricketts added of the duo.

“I brought Barney on the first game of the season, away at Portsmouth, a big game in not an easy situation to come on at 0-0.”

“There’s trust there because of what he’s done in pre-season and Sears is no different.

“I’ve trusted Sears from when I very first came in. Unfortunately since then he had a really bad injury and has built his way up, but unfortunately we got shut down last year just as he was going to get some games on loan.

“He’s had a really good pre-season and again I’m looking to him to get the confidence playing where he was a year ago.”

Plymouth Argyle will undertake a round of Covid-19 testing ahead of Saturday's visit of Shrewsbury Town after a breakout at Leyton Orient, who the Pilgrims faced last week.

A number of Orient players have tested positive for coronavirus since last Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie against Plymouth.

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