Matt targets 12 points

BIRTHDAY boy Matt Richards has targeted a maximum 12 points from the next four games, starting with a win at home to Crystal Palace today.The flexible Blues star is keeping his 21st birthday celebrations today low key, but hopes to be able to pop a cork or two next week after helping Town surge up the table.

By Derek Davis

BIRTHDAY boy Matt Richards has targeted a maximum 12 points from the next four games, starting with a win at home to Crystal Palace today.

The flexible Blues star is keeping his 21st birthday celebrations today low key, but hopes to be able to pop a cork or two next week after helping Town surge up the table.

While Richards has every respect for today's opponents, he is confident the Blues have enough to see off the Londoners, who have struggled since being relegated from the Premiership.


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Richards said: “It is a big game for us because, if we can start this period off with the right result, I don't see why we can't go on and win all four games.

“That is a very realistic aim that we have. Everyone knows we have the ability to do that, and all we need to do is go out and show we can play to our capabilities.

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“I know 12 points is quite a tough target but we have two games at home that we must look to win. Then we go to Hull and Stoke and both are games that we are capable of winning.

“We need to show that by being solid and confident and our aim has to be getting clean sheets.”

Having a birthday on Boxing Day can be a mixed blessing but, for a footballer, it means two big occasions that have to be put on hold.

Like all the Blues players, Richards trained on Christmas Day and, with a game today, could not indulge in the traditional festive feasting. However, at least he will be able to celebrate his birthday at Portman Road, after playing at Millwall last year and West Ham the year before.

He said: “This will be the first time I have played at home on Boxing Day, and on my birthday, so this will be a treat for me if I play and I'm really looking forward to that and to getting a result.

“I will not be celebrating anything though, until all the games are over.

“My priority is to play and do well and focus on this period. It is the same for everyone and we will gladly sacrifice our Christmas.

“This is a very important period for us, with a lot of points up for grabs. It is not just about three points this week but 12 points and, if we can get all 12, that will put us in a very good position in the league. So, that means putting Christmas and things like that on the backburner so we can focus.”

With players coming back from injury, and a win at Sheffield Wednesday tucked under their belt, the Blues are feeling confident going into the busy four-games-in-eight-days period.

Richards said: “It is not 100% but we have players coming back and, during this busy period, those fresh legs will benefit us.

“Everyone has to rest really well and then give their all in the games, as they usually do.

“They have good players. They didn't lose too many in the summer so we know they will make it difficult for us. We got a result against them a couple of years ago and there is no reason why we can't do that.

“They are lower in the league than many expected but they can turn it around and get back up there.”

Richards has adapted well to playing in midfield and has been used on the left and in a central position, as well as reverting to a left-back role when needed.

He said: “It doesn't bother me at all. I will go out and play wherever. I know the results have not been the best recently but I have still enjoyed playing.”

Richards, who made his debut under George Burley to become the Blues' youngest-ever player in the UEFA Cup, has now made 100 league appearances for the club.

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