Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts revealed it has been challenging to prepare for tomorrow night’s EFL Trophy clash with troubled League Two outfit Macclesfield Town.
Unfortunate off-field problems are currently enveloping the Silkmen. The club’s players have not yet been paid for October and sat out their weekend FA Cup tie with Kingstonian in protest, forcing manager Daryl McMahon to cobble together a side of youngsters and loan players to fulfil the fixture, which they lost 4-0.
Ricketts revealed he was at Moss Rose on Sunday to cast his eye over Wednesday’s opponents but admitted he had no idea what sort of team the Silkmen will field against the Shrews.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: ‘To be honest I don’t really know what side they are going to put out, I went to the game on Sunday just to see them play and see who they had out.’
With news reports emerging today the Silkmen’s players are currently not insured and have been advised not to play, the Salop boss felt the threat to the continued existence of teams from the lower leagues was a significant problem for football.
He added: ‘I think it’s a really sad time in football at the minute, firstly with Bury, Bolton and now it looks like Macclesfield could be next. Although hopefully there’s the talk of a takeover going through, but you know that’s really disheartening for football in general, I think for the players as well; it’s not good not getting paid, and it just seems to be happening too much at the minute. It’s a shame because it overlooks the actual football going into the game tomorrow.’
‘Having done so well to get into the football league, it’s now sad to see that they are struggling to pay their staff and players.’
Despite expressing sympathy with all those connected with Macclesfield, the Shrewsbury boss was also adamant there would be no sentiment once the players step over the white line. He stressed his side would be entirely focussed on getting the win they need to progress to the next stage of the competition.
‘We’ll be focussed, we know it will be tough as we don’t know who we’ll be playing against, so mentally it will be hard, we have to make sure we’re ready for the game, training and doing everything right. It’s not easy when you don’t have a particular target to focus on,’ he said.
He then added the prospect of a Wembley final if they do well in the tournament was a big motivation for his players. ‘I think every player wants to play at Wembley its the iconic stadium where everyone wants to play, and it’s an opportunity to get there. It’s a competition the club know well having narrowly missed out a couple of years ago. In an ideal world, we’d like to go one better. There is an awful lot of games to get there, but it’s an opportunity to have a day out and win some silverware as well.’
The plight of Macclesfield is not engaging the national media at present.
Maybe they are waiting for a deadline so they can install another countdown clock for their coverage.
Ricketts is right, but the FA and EFL continue to sit on their hands, and nothing seems to change.