Richards rejoins Brighton for season

WHILE Ipswich Town strive to bring in new players, Matt Richards has returned to Brighton on loan for the rest of the season, vowing to help them win automatic.

Derek Davis

WHILE Ipswich Town strive to bring in new players, Matt Richards has returned to Brighton on loan for the rest of the season, vowing to help them win automatic.

Albion have slipped to ninth place since Richards and Town team-mate George O'Callaghan returned to Portman Road but the defender is convinced he can help inspire a surge back up the table.

Richards said: “The play-offs are very realistic. There is a great squad here and from what I saw before, we can be pushing for automatic promotion.


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"I don't see why we cannot do that. We've got some good results against teams higher up than us and I think we can improve even more."

Richards enjoyed a three-month stint at the Withdean earlier in the season and the Seagulls were keen to sign him permanently, but he has 18 months of his Town contract remaining and only wanted to go on a temporary basis at this stage.

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He kept his options but it was clear he was not going to get back into the Town side and no other club made a serious move for him.

Richards said: “I was on the bench and in the squad for a couple of the games, but Ipswich have got a big squad and a lot of good players, so everyone is fighting for places.

"The most important thing for me is to play games and play every week. That is what I can do at Brighton and I am really happy to be back.

"Once I knew Brighton wanted me back it was an easy decision really. I enjoyed my time here previously.

"It's a great place and the coaches and the lads are brilliant, so that made it quite easy.

"I've followed every game. I've been speaking to the lads and looking at every result, even checking at half-time to see how they have been getting on.”

It is easy to see why Albion wanted him back as during his 93-day loan between September and December, Brighton were beaten only three times in 19 outings.

In the six matches since he returned to Ipswich, they have been knocked out of the FA Cup at home by Mansfield, lost at Swansea in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and dropped eight points out of 12 in the League.

Adam El-Abd, Sam Rents, Joel Lynch, Andrew Whing and Kerry Mayo have all played in the left back position temporarily vacated by Richards while the Seagulls have shipped, on average, two goals per game.

Manager Dean Wilkins said: "We have conceded a lot of crosses from that side and had one or two problems on that side, so it's good to get him back.

"We've wanted to bring Matt back from the day he left really. He was part of our successful run up to Christmas, so that was always our objective."

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