Goals kick-start Matt's career

TWO goals in a week have not only kick-started Matt Richards' career in midfield for Town but he believes it will help rejuvenate Ipswich Town's season.

By Derek Davis

TWO goals in a week have not only kick-started Matt Richards' career in midfield for Town but he believes it will help rejuvenate Ipswich Town's season.

Richards calmly put away his first- ever penalty as a senior player to put the game out of sight for Ipswich against Plymouth and believes Town are on an upward turn.

He said: “I don't see why we cannot go on and at least make the play-offs. We have some great players here and we are getting better and better. We have had a disappointing start but I can see us improving and getting up into the promotion places.”

Richards has clawed his way back into the Blues starting line-up after being left out and has also proved to be as good as his word, after telling the EADT in midweek how he intended getting goals from midfield, and that he was prepared for the pressure of being a penalty- taker.

He scored a cracking equaliser at Derby with a header and wrapped the game up for Town against Plymouth .

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Richards revealed how manager Joe Royle had asked for volunteers in the dressing room before the match. He added: “I just put my hand up straight away, I was always confident about taking them.

“I'm not bothered about a crowd so I didn't feel any pressure from the fans.

“It was the first penalty I had ever taken as a professional but I knew I would score. I want to get a few more goals and the past week has doubled my career tally.

“I really enjoyed the one at Derby, scoring with my head. I don't suppose I will ever score with my head again.”

His brace has doubled his career goal tally for Town and marked a new era for Richards, who is looking to establish himself in the Blues midfield.

He said: “It has been a good week for me. I have enjoyed playing in midfield and getting the goals has been a bonus.

“It was disappointing to be out of the team for four games but it is great being back and, in many ways, playing in midfield is better for me.

“It gives me the freedom to get forward and that suits my game.”

The 20-year-old is also eyeing a return to the England Under-21 set- up after winning one cap.

Richards will be 21 on Boxing Day and eligible for Peter Taylor's side, which hope to compete in the European Championship finals next summer.

His former Blues team mate Darren Bent has been recalled to the squad that faces France in the play-off games next week.

He said: “I would love to get back in the England side. I have not had a chance since that game but maybe now, if I can establish myself as a midfielder, I might get another chance.”

Richards will know that his position is already under threat with the return to fitness of Ian Westlake after an ankle problem.

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