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Bolton Wanderers 1 Shrewsbury Town 1 - Keith Hill & Sam Ricketts reaction

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Keith Hill praised his players’ resolve after becoming the first Bolton manager to name three successive unchanged line-ups in almost three years.

After bruising battles against Southend and Sunderland, the Whites boss said he would leave it to his players to volunteer their services for a third consecutive game.

And though there was a welcome return for Harry Brockbank on the bench, the starting 11 was unaltered, which suggests every player put up their hand in the affirmative.

Phil Parkinson named the same side in four straight games in January 2017 but since then, it has very much been a case of chopping and changing for whoever occupies the hotseat.

Unfortunately for Hill he will not have the luxury of maintaining the status quo on New Year’s Day, as Liam Bridcutt hobbled off with a hamstring injury just 15 minutes into the game and Jason Lowe was handed a straight red card.

But he was nevertheless proud of the effort to secure a point under pressure in the second half.

“You make decisions on your team and they have got to be reflected in performances,” he said after the final whistle. “You have to try your best to make the right calls and then it’s down to the players to back it up.

“I am relatively pleased with taking the lead but it was a scruffy second goal, a couple of deflections and it ends up at their player’s feet.

“We could have crumbled going down to 10 men and Liam (Bridcutt) is a loss, obviously, and Jason will be three games. It will be a depleted midfield (against Burton) now. I did have an option if Lowey was suspended and Liam was fit but now we’re at bare bones for the next game at least.”

Wanderers’ goal had the fans on their feet. Thibaud Verlinden’s delicious first-half chip to beat Shrews keeper Max O’Leary summed up why fans were singing his name throughout 90 minutes.

“It was a special finish and he is a good player,” Hill said.

“It’s important he works really hard out of possession, if he does that then he gets the rewards. We also get the reward because we secure a point because of that goal.

“It was a great bit of skill and he worked hard today.”

Ex-Wanderers defender Sam Ricketts, who has been in charge of Shrewsbury for a little over 12 months, believes referee Michael Salisbury got the red card decision 100 per cent correct.

“It was a straight red,” he said. “There were no arguments. Luckily (Oliie) Norburn’s leg was off the ground and he still caught him just below the knee. There could be no complaints.”

Former Wales international Ricketts has made a good start to life in the dugout with Wrexham and Shrewsbury but felt his side was close to grabbing a victory on his first return to Bolton as a manager.

Despite seeing a second-half goal ruled out for a narrow offside, Ricketts thanked supporters for the welcome he received.

“I loved my time at Bolton and I love the place, being honest,” he said. “The offside was a close one. I have seen it back and it was the right decision. Josh Laurent coming in and chesting the ball made it offside. If Shaun Whalley hadn’t gone for it then Josh possibly could have scored. Likewise if Josh hadn’t touched it, Shaun probably would have chested it and scored.

“I thought the supporters were superb for Bolton and you can see the club is in the right hands and going in the right direction. The stadium and the pitch you can see it is a proper football club.

“It was nice to be back but for 90 minutes I am Shrewsbury manager doing everything I can to win the game. After that I wish the club all the best.”



Guðni Bergsson
Guðni Bergsson
Always liked Sam.

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