Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts happy to press his point


Sam Ricketts revealed his Shrewsbury team's next objective is to press smart after an impressive high-energy start in Saturday's curtain-raiser at Portsmouth.
Sam Ricketts the head coach / manager of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)

Town, who finished with 10 men after Aaron Pierre was shown a second yellow in stoppage time, caught the eye with high intensity levels at Fratton Park in a goalless draw to kickstart the new League One season.

Ricketts' visitors had the better of the chances and were particularly potent in a first half where they pressed high and caused the hosts all manner of problems.

Both sides had chances to take three points but the Shrews boss declared himself delighted with how his side carried out the new front-footed approach – adding they now have to develop an understanding of when to press opposition.

"You can't replicate the intensity of league games," Ricketts said. "We played a number of pre-season games and went up to Middlesbrough (in the cup) but you can't replicate it.

"I thought the intensity and press were excellent.

"You're not going to be able to be on top the whole game, so maybe we've got to learn how and when to have a rest because you can't press for 90 minutes.

"That's something we'll certainty look to work on and get better at.

"But the endeavour to press and the way we did a number of times was outstanding."

Town went closest through midfielder Brad Walker, who impressed throughout. He hit the post with a header before sending a good opening wide across goal.

Ricketts handed an immediate debut to new loan signing Matija Sarkic in goal and the on-loan Wolves keeper was excellent throughout.

"Of course it will (games will help)," Ricketts added after watching his side impress against last season's beaten play-off semi-finalists.

"I can think of numerous times in that second half where a slightly more cautious approach would be to drop off after giving the ball away but our initial reaction was to press.

"Not in ones but in twos, threes or fours and it ends up being the fifth or sixth man that wins the ball or forces them into a big clearance so we can turn it over.

"That what was pleasing more than anything, the intensity and willingness to do it."

Ricketts confirmed midfield duo Dave Edwards and Sean Goss missed out through injury. Town will assess Ro-Shaun Williams for a hamstring complaint this week while the boss said he had no qualms with Pierre's late dismissal.