Ricketts joins on loan

Last updated : 30 January 2006 By Tony Scholes

It’s been a difficult three years for the 27 year-old Ricketts, this coming after a successful spell under Sam Allardyce at Bolton that saw him win a full England cap.

The Birmingham born Ricketts joined Walsall as a teenager and quickly won a place in the first team. He was just seventeen when he made his debut in a home game against Rotherham, coming on as a substitute, and just a week later he was coming off the bench again as they went down 2-1 to the Clarets on the Turf on a day when David Eyres and Kurt Nogan got our goals.

It was in the summer of 2000 that Allardyce paid Walsall a £400,000 transfer fee to take him to the Reebok Stadium but injury ruled him out of the season’s opener against the Clarets. He was soon paying back some of that fee and in his first season in the north west he scored 24 goals as Bolton won promotion to the Premiership with a play off win against Preston.

Two of those goals were scored on the Turf in the December when, as he had done for Walsall, he came on a substitute and scored both goals in Bolton’s 2-0 win. His last goal that season was Bolton’s second in the easy win over North End.

The higher level proved to be no problem and he hit another fifteen goals in the following season including one at Highbury as Bolton took a point against Arsenal and the winner in a 2-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

It was during this time that he was called up by Sven Goran Eriksson and he made his only appearance for England against Holland and he was still amongst the goals in the following season, hitting another seven before Steve McClaren stepped in to take him to Middlesbrough in a £3.5 million deal.

He never made an impact at the Riverside, hardly played and scored just three league goals before moving onto Leeds on a free transfer after just a year and a half. Again he’s struggled to win a place in the side and has twice gone out on loan. He joined Stoke following Ade Akinbiyi’s move to Burnley but made only one start for them and then this season he was with Cardiff for four months.

His debut for Cardiff was in the 3-3 draw at the Turf earlier this season and he enjoyed some good form and manager Dave Jones wanted to keep him longer, but he returned to Elland Road at the end of 2005.

Now he’s at the Turf and hoping to win a permanent deal. Much will depend on whether he can rediscover the sort of form he showed the last time he was playing his football in the north west with Bolton.