Richards: I deserved better

MATT Richards today looked back on his time with Ipswich Town and said: “I deserved more.”

Elvin King

MATT Richards today looked back on his time with Ipswich Town and said: “I deserved more.”

And he has set himself a mission to prove Town wrong in not wanting him.

The 24-year-old left-sided defender or midfielder will be released by the Blues at the end of this month after making 168 appearances and scoring nine goals.

He is confident that he will find another club and revealed that he has a number of opportunities to consider.

“I haven't signed a contract yet,” said Richards. “But when I return from holiday I expect to be in a position to do so.”

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Richards, who captained the Blues' reserve team for the second half of last season after lengthy loan spells at Brighton, is tipped to return on a full-time basis to the south coast club.

The Harlow-born former England Under-21 international featured in two Championship play-off semi-finals under Joe Royle's management and is the youngest Town player to represent the club in Europe when he made his debut against Avenir Beggen when 17 in 2002.

Looking back on his time at Portman Road after coming through the Academy system, Richards reflected on playing just one Town first-team game in the last two seasons.

“I think I deserved more,” said Richards. “My wish is that I had been given more opportunity.

“Apart from being an unused substitute at Coventry in 2007/08, I did not feature until Roy Keane selected me for the penultimate game of the season at Cardiff City.

“I felt I did well and showed what I can do at this level. But I have no axe to grind with Mr Keane as he has only been in charge of a couple of games.

“Being a regular for two years when Ipswich made the play-offs - almost gaining automatic promotion on one occasion - didn't appear to count for anything, which I found hard to take.

“But I have plenty of football left in me, and am looking ahead to the new season with a new challenge.”

Richards is one of the 13 players out of contract on June 30 and only Alex Bruce has so far agreed to a sign a new deal.

All the rest are on their way out of Portman Road, apart from Shane Supple who will sign a new deal when the paperwork can be done, and Ed Upson, who is expected to do the same.

Liam Trotter is currently thinking over a new deal that is believed to be for one year and weighing up his options - with fellow Championship side Scunthorpe poised to offer a three-year deal.

Released striker Billy Clarke is expected to join League One Brentford but Notts County manager Ian McParland is hoping to persuade the 21-year-old to join the Magpies.

McParland said: “I know that a number of clubs are interested in Billy and that some are in higher divisions so realistically it's still a long shot. But hopefully I can get the backing to make a good offer and we can convince him that Notts County is the club for him.”

Sheffield Wednesday are also keen while Oldham and Lincoln have also been linked.

n Town duo Veliche Shumulikoski and Ronan Murray helped their international sides to victories on Wednesday.

Shumulikoski played the first 77 minutes as Macedonia beat Iceland 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Skopje.

In Belgium, Murray and the Irish Under-19's ended their unsuccessful European Championships elite qualifying mini-tournament with a 2-1 win against Sweden.