Matt keen to take his chance at Albion

MATT Richards has spoken of how his disillusionment at Ipswich prompted his loan switch to Brighton.Richards' career at Portman Road has gone into decline after a promising start.

By Derek Davis

MATT Richards has spoken of how his disillusionment at Ipswich prompted his loan switch to Brighton.

Richards' career at Portman Road has gone into decline after a promising start. He had a taste of European football at the age of 17 when he played in a UEFA Cup tie and he also made one appearance for England under-21s.

Richards lost out to Dan Harding at international level and has played second fiddle to him again since the former Brighton left-back moved from Leeds to Ipswich.

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Since turning pro in August 2002 Richards has made 132 starts and 35 substitute appearances for Town, scoring nine goals, but has not featured in Jim Magilton's Championship plans since the end of March.

Richards said: “It has been a bit disappointing for me at Ipswich so far this season. I haven't played any games, so I am really happy to be coming down to Brighton to be involved in the team.

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“I've been with Ipswich since I was 10 and I've got a couple of years left on my contract. I don't know about my future, at the moment I am just thinking about coming to Brighton, playing games and enjoying myself.”

The 22-year-old also spoke of how fellow loanee and former Town team-mate Nicky Forster influenced his decision.

Richards said: “It's really good down there from what I have heard from George (O'Callaghan) and Nicky (Forster), so I am really looking forward to it.

“I have spoken to them both. They said good things about the place, that it is a really good club. That made me want to go there even more.

“I am quite close to George and when Nicky was at Ipswich I had a good relationship with him, so I am sure they will help me out.

“It definitely played a part, having people there who I know already. They are going to know the ropes.”

Richards has been a long-term transfer target for Albion. They would like to keep him for longer than the month he has initially signed for.

Assistant Dean White said: “He's someone we looked at before the start of the season and we tried to get him here before now.

“He's played nearly 150 games in the Championship and is exactly the type of player we're looking for.

“He's played for England, so we know what we're getting, someone of real quality, and I'm sure he'll be a real asset.”

Richards has been used in recent times by Ipswich in midfield but is likely to make his Albion debut against Yeovil tomorrow at left-back in place of the injured Joel Lynch.

He said: “I am not sure where Brighton want me to play but I am not fussed as long as I am playing games.”

After playing in the UEFA Cup at 17 and playing for England Under 21s, Richards is still confident he can get playing at the top level.

He said: “I haven't had a regular run at Ipswich for a year or two now. That is what I've been missing and what I am looking forward to most at Brighton. It will help improve my game.

“I believe in myself and I believe I can play in the Premiership. I'm still very young. I have got a lot of years ahead of me and I am confident I can get there.”

The arrival of Richards maintains Albion's regular dealings with the Blues. They also borrowed Dean Bowditch last season and he is poised to return once he has regained full fitness.

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