Ricketts riding high once again

Ricketts riding high once again

Published Jan. 21, 2012 7:15 a.m. ET

As the son of former world showjumping champion Derek Ricketts and nephew of legendary jockey John Francome, Ricketts is used to the concept of clearing obstacles.

Thankfully, he is now over his biggest hurdle after making a successful comeback from the major Achilles tendon injury he suffered 11 months ago.

It has been a tortuous process and at times Ricketts admits things did not always go smoothly.

But the 30-year-old Wales international never lost faith and working under the guidance of UK Athletics' Performance Therapist Gerry Ramogida, Ricketts' career is happily back on track again.


"There were times when it was hugely frustrating," said Ricketts.

"Any little hindrance was unsettling.

"The plus side for me was that it fell between seasons. I went to America for a week and did some rehab out there and from July onwards I worked with UK Athletics.

"Once I met Gerry, I never had any doubts. He just filled me with confidence.

"He told me I would come back fitter than I was before, which was one of my big things. I wanted to be fitter, quicker and stronger than before I got injured."

It sounds like the script of Six Million Dollar man.

However, for any professional sportsman, who relies on their body so much, there can be no acceptance of second best.

And when Ricketts eventually made it back, on New Year's Eve against Wolves, an occasion he marked with the opening goal in a 1-1 draw at the Reebok Stadium, the release was tangible.

"I tried to put it to the back of my mind but now I am back playing it has triggered all the old memories," he said.

"You remember how good it is and the feeling after a game when you have pushed yourself to the physical limit, the euphoria you feel after a win and that sense of satisfaction and achievement after a game. You can't replicate that."

Four games in, Ricketts' priorities are beginning to change.

Now the 30-year-old must look beyond his personal battle and start concentrating on Bolton's dire need for points as they fight the spectre of relegation.

Their latest quest is to overcome Liverpool, the team Ricketts supported as a boy.

However, the days when he had John Barnes posters up on his bedroom wall are long gone.

What remains is a recognition of what a successful club they once were, and the insatiable demands of supporters who either grew up watching a winning team, or on tales of those mighty deeds.

"Historically they are a great club with great traditions," he said.

"With Kenny Dalglish coming back to manage them Liverpool have an aura. But it is not like playing Manchester United. They have not had the success.

"By Liverpool's standards they have had some real lean years. You start seeing that and thinking they are not unbeatable."

The comparison between Saturday evening's match and Bolton's FA Cup tie at League Two Macclesfield a fortnight ago is inescapable.

"There is no pressure on us whatsoever," said Ricketts.

"It was the same at Macclesfield. If they tried a trick, brilliant. If it didn't come off no-one is going to say a word. If we had done that we would get lambasted.

"Liverpool is a massive club. Everything is scrutinised. They are under a lot of pressure. If they are not quite on top form, or their confidence is a bit low, they are going to be feeling it."