WREXHAM are looking for their fourth manager of the year after Sam Ricketts was confirmed as the new Shrewsbury Town boss.

Former Wales international Ricketts only took charge of the Reds in May on a three year contract but has been linked with the vacant managerial position at the League One club since John Askey was sacked on November 12.

Immediately installed as one of the favourites with bookmakers for The New Meadow role, Ricketts stated after last Tuesday’s goalless draw at Barrow that there had been no contact from the Shrews.

However, an approach was made and Wrexham reluctantly allowed Ricketts to speak to the club late last week.

With speculation mounting that Shrewsbury were closing in on a move to make Ricketts their new boss, he was told not to attend Saturday’s FA Cup second round tie with Newport County, whose manager Mike Flynn had also been linked with the Shrews job.

The board made the bold decision to tell Ricketts to stay away after fans reacted angrily on social media to reports that Ricketts was about to jump ship.

Graham Barrow, brought in as Ricketts’ assistant in July, took charge along with coaches Jussi Jaaskelainen and Carl Darlington, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw which ensured Wrexham were in the hat for last night’s third round draw.

The process to appoint Ricketts’ successor is already underway after high-level talks took place yesterday.

Former Chester, Wigan and Rochdale boss Barrow will take charge of the first team on an interim basis with Wrexham, who are fourth in the National League, back in action on Saturday when Eastleigh visit The Racecourse.

Barrow has indicated he does not want the job on a permanent basis so the 64-year-old is unlikely to be appointed as Wrexham’s fourth manager of the year, leading to speculation on who could be Ricketts; replacement.

Former Shrewsbury boss Askey and two former Wrexham captains, Darren Ferguson and Dennis Lawrence, are just three of the names on that list.

The board would not have expected this scenario after going through the same torment only nine months ago.

Dean Keates left the Racecourse in March to take charge of hometown club Walsall with his assistant Andy Davies finishing the season in the Reds hotseat

Davies teamed up again with Keates in the summer at Walsall and the pair will now be joined in League One by Ricketts.

Ricketts has swapped a promotion challenge for a relegation battle with Shrewsbury currently 15th in the table, seven points above the drop zone.

A Wrexham club statement read: “Wrexham AFC can confirm that first team manager Sam Ricketts has left the club to join Shrewsbury Town.

“Following an approach from Shrewsbury Town we did everything possible to retain his services, however, once this interest became known, Sam expressed his desire to speak to them regarding their vacancy.

“Shrewsbury Town triggered elements in Sam’s contract enabling them to approach him and at that point we were obliged to allow him to speak to them.

“Following his discussions with Shrewsbury Town, Sam informed us of his intention to take up their vacant manager’s position on Saturday morning and in the best interests of Wrexham AFC, we asked him not to attend our FA Cup second round fixture versus Newport County on Saturday night.

“Wrexham AFC are in a strong position after 22 league games of the 2018-19 season. We would like to thank Sam for his efforts and for the work he did while at the football club.

“We are fully focused on further improving upon this situation going forward. Wrexham AFC have already begun the process to appoint Sam’s successor with Graham Barrow taking charge of the first team on an interim basis.

“We will make further announcements regarding this matter as soon as possible. Wrexham AFC will be making no further comment at this stage.”

Ricketts, who was lead coach of Wolves under 16s before taking up his first managerial post with Wrexham, was in the Reds hotseat for 22 league games.

Wrexham registered 12 wins, seven draws and three defeats under Ricketts, as well as progressing to the second round of the FA Cup after beating Harrogate Town and Weston-super-Mare.

Ricketts scooped the National League manager of the month award for October after Wrexham emerged unbeaten, but the manner of his departure has not gone down well with supporters.