SAM Ricketts did not enjoy conceding two goals on his return to the Wanderers defence at Middlesbrough but hopes watching new boss Dougie Freedman saw enough in his switch to centre-back to make it a more permanent fixture.

The 31-year-old was back in the Whites starting line-up for the first time since defeat at Hull almost two months ago and deployed centrally, with Matt Mills left on the bench after a hamstring tweak in midweek forced him off at Wolves.

He was naturally disappointed his return ended in a 2-1 defeat but admits he wants more chances at centre-back under the new manager, believing that is where his future now lies.

Ricketts said: “I really enjoyed the switch inside.

“Centre-back is a position I really want to look at playing now.

“I talked to Chris Coleman (Wales manager) about it in the last international break.

“As a kid, it is a position everyone tried to get me to play and I didn’t really enjoy it thereI have got to the stage now where I enjoy the challenge of it.

“I used to love playing full-back because I could get up and down.

“Now I think I can use my experience and enjoy the challenge of playing centre-back.”

Unfortunately, his experience couldn’t help Wanderers avoid defeat against third-placed Borough despite leading at half-time after a decent first-half showing.

Two goals inside 20 second-half minutes saw them lose that lead and Ricketts believes it was indicative of a team lacking in a bit of belief after the poor start to the season.

He feels, however, caretaker bosses Jimmy Phillips and Sammy Lee have started to turn that around and hopes Freedman can continue that when he takes up the post officially today.

Ricketts added: “We have had one or two individual mistakes but in the second half it was just the pressure gradually building up on us.

“I think, as a team, we just need to cope with that and maybe in a couple more weeks we would have done a lot better in being relaxed.

“We got a little bit hurried and lost our shape. We stopped passing the ball as well as we did in the first half. We weren’t at our best but we passed the ball in the first half and cut them open several times.

“We lacked a bit of confidence and belief in the second half.

“Confidence is a big thing in football and performances in the past couple of games have stepped up a notch.

“It was just disappointing we didn’t get the result our first-half display deserved.

“I’ve been with Jimmy and Sammy for around 10 days after being away for the internationals.

“I think they have united us and you can see that in the performances in the last few games. Everyone gets a fresh start again now and we have to prove ourselves to the new manager. We have undoubted quality in the squad it is just the application that is needed.”