Sam Ricketts called on his Wrexham players to deliver a better performance than the mid-week win against Hartlepool when the Dragons welcome another North East opponent, Gateshead, to the Racecourse on Saturday.
Wrexham go into the game on the back of five straight home wins, but Ricketts dubbed the performance against ten-man Hartlepool the worst of his time in charge of the club.
But the Dragons boss admits the mood in the dressing room is good after eking out another three points, and he hopes the experience of the Hartlepool game will serve as an important lesson for the squad’s younger players.
“Games come thick and fast, but you love it when games are coming and you’re winning, and it gives you an opportunity to go out and express yourselves again,” Ricketts said.
“We obviously need to perform better than what we did against Hartlepool but the most important thing was the win and it’s now another game to look forward to.
“[The performance] was a rarity for us if I’m honest. It’s not the norm, so you just have to put it down to one of those things. It’s an amazing feeling to say, ‘listen lads, we were poor tonight, but well done we still got the win’.
“It’s a really good trait and it probably comes from a pure desire to not give in, to block, to head the ball, to work and run and press and harry. Misplaced passes – yes; decision-making – poor at times; but you can’t ever fault their effort to try and win the game.
“That’s how you learn, isn’t it? You have to be in those scenarios. You can look back and think maybe you would do things differently – we have a lot of young players who have bright futures in the game if they continue to work hard.”
Gateshead had won four in a row prior to their last-minute defeat to Fylde in mid-week, and head to the Racecourse in seventh place in the Vanarama National League – six points behind second-placed Wrexham.
After overcoming a Hartlepool team who pressed high up the pitch on Tuesday night, Ricketts is expecting another tough test when Steve Watson’s side arrive in North Wales.
The former Newcastle and Everton defender has been in charge at Gateshead for a year now and Ricketts admitted he admires the way he has the team playing.
“Gateshead are a young side who are doing fantastically well,” he said. “Really good. They’ve got them passing the ball really well as well.
“It’s another game to look forward to – the same result [as Hartlepool] but a better performance would be nice!
“We’ve had a busy few weeks, especially with the FA Cup and then the replay. It’s been two games a week for a few weeks now, so it will be nice to finish this little run with a home game.”
The match at the Racecourse, on Saturday 3 November, kicks off at 3pm. For more information on tickets and hospitality see our match guide.