Sam Ricketts has warned his Wrexham players not to under-estimate Dagenham & Redbridge as the Dragons prepare for Saturday’s trip to Essex.
Dagenham are 22nd in the National League, and have lost their last four consecutive matches, but Ricketts is expecting a tough test against a good footballing team, managed by the experienced Peter Taylor.
“They are a team that likes to play football,” Ricketts said of the Daggers. “Obviously [Peter Taylor] is an ex-England manager. He’s a very, very good manager and they try to play football and have a few decent players.
“They had a very turbulent summer and he’s had to bring in a lot of players. It takes a while for the team to settle down.
“It’s going to be another real tough game. We have to be ready for every game in this league, you can’t ever turn up and expect to win.”
Ricketts admitted travel had taken a lot out of players when the Dragons lost to Sutton and drew with Harrogate, before the narrow home win against Barnet.
But with external factors including the artificial pitches at those grounds, and the tight turnover between fixtures, he does not expect it to be an issue.
“The preparation does not have to be too different [from normal] when it’s only one game. Obviously with Sutton and Harrogate, travel was a factor but the different surface was another factor.
“Hopefully that’s just a one-off. What we’re trying to do is build a squad that is resolute and can go and go again. Obviously we make the odd change, and bring fresh legs in, but we’re getting there with that and there’s no reason why players won’t be ready to go again.”
The Wrexham boss has also called on his players to continue to show him their hunger and desire to be playing, as squad depth came to the fore again against Havant & Waterlooville.
With Chris Holroyd injured and Mike Fondop suspended, Rekeil Pyke seized his opportunity and scored his fourth goal of the season.
And Ricketts re-iterated that no player has a guaranteed starting place, particularly with options at the top of the pitch.
“When people get their opportunity, they have to take it,” he said, when asked about the forwards. “I want players who are fresh, hungry… they have to feel fresh as forwards because you expect them to be running, to be dynamic and be sharp. That’s the beauty of having players to rotate.”
On Holroyd’s injury, Ricketts confirmed the striker would be assessed during the week, along with James Jennings, with only Manny Smith definitely ruled out.
He also confirmed loanees Freddie Hinds and Scott Burgess remain in his plans, admitting they had been victims of the restriction on loan players in the starting XI.
“With Freddie Hinds and Scott Burgess, it’s really unfortunate at the moment that I can only pick five loan players,” he concluded. “Obviously the three lads up top are all loans and are all scoring, and Brad Walker and Rob Lainton are obviously deservedly in the team so it’s really hard on them, but they have to keep working hard and wait for their opportunity.”
The match against Dagenham & Redbridge takes place at the Daggers’ Victoria Road ground on Saturday October 13 and will kick off at 3pm. For more information on travel, check out our guide.