Shrewsbury Town v Newcastle U21S: Sam Ricketts wants to see an edge to Town in tie

Shrewsbury Town will use tonight’s EFL Trophy tie against Newcastle United’s youngsters to hone their new style.

Sam Ricketts the head coach / manager of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)
Sam Ricketts the head coach / manager of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)

The two clubs meet in the competition for the second season running with Sam Ricketts keen to see more signs of Town’s attacking nature, writes Lewis Cox.

Town are low on numbers due to a spate of early-season injuries and – given they have a free midweek next week in between league games against Plymouth and Gillingham – the Shrews boss is likely to name a strong side, with the possibility of a sprinkling of youth.

Ricketts explained that the fixture schedule will determine how strong Shrewsbury look in Trophy group games this season – with Town also set to welcome Bolton and visit Crewe in Northern Group C action.

“Ultimately it’s determined by when the games fall,” Ricketts said of how serious he will take the competition that Town reached the final of at Wembley in 2018.

“If it falls into the middle of a five-week Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday (match) period then I’m sure every team will change their team around in that respect.

“Also, given injuries, do you have the capability of changing the team that much? If it falls in a time where players aren’t in need of recovery then that it is. It’s ultimately luck as to when the games fall as to how your schedule looks and how your injury list is.”

Sixteen selected Premier League academy teams enter the EFL Trophy across the northern and southern groups.

Town comfortably dispatched Newcastle’s under-21 side at this stage last season – with Fejiri Okenabirhie, Jason Cummings and Dave Edwards on target.

Ricketts named a senior side mixed with squad players that night. Given Shrews are down on numbers and have yet to complete their transfer business, the door is likely to be open for a few youngsters.

Sean Goss, Dave Edwards and Ethan Ebanks-Landell all miss out through injury while Shilow Tracey has not yet received permission to make his debut.

The Town boss saw his side fluff several key moments in Saturday’s defeat to Northampton.

As well as 19 shots – of which just five were on target – Shrews were wasteful from a number of positions when forwards did not get their shots away.

It is a more clinical edge the manager is demanding from his players and getting their sights in against Newcastle’s youngsters tonight will be ideal preparation for the long trip to Plymouth this weekend.

”We had 19 shots but there were three, four or five situations where we should’ve been getting a shot off and scoring,” Ricketts added. ”I’m not concerned by any means, there was an awful lot of good out of the game on Saturday and this is another game to implement our ideas and to hone it. Playing games and honing your ideas.”

Newcastle’s youth side began their PL 2 campaign with a 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough earlier this month.

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