Richards: Croft was a role model

MATT Richards is looking to get one over on a former role model this afternoon as Ipswich look to leapfrog Cardiff City at Ninian Park.

MATT Richards is looking to get one over on a former role model this afternoon as Ipswich look to leapfrog Cardiff City at Ninian Park, writes Derek Davis.

The young Blues defender has vivid memories of when Gary Croft was at Portman Road and admits he was someone he looked up to.

Richards, now a regular at left-back since making his debut in the UEFA Cup last season, still has a lot of respect for the player who helped City win promotion via the play-offs last season.

He said: “I used to watch Crofty a lot when I was younger and coming through the ranks.


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“He is a great crosser of the ball and gets forward well.

“I like to think I have picked up a lot of things from the good left-backs we have had here, Jamie Clapham, Hermann Hreidarsson and then Chris Makin. It is important to learn from players like that.”

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Croft's sunny disposition made him popular in the dressing room, and among the academy lads.

Richards said: “He was also really good to have around the place. He may not remember me and some of the other young lads but we remember him. He is a character.”

While learning a lot from stars gone by, Richards points to the understanding he has with Ian Westlake as to why both players have improved further this season.

He said: “We have been playing together since we were 14 so it does help.

“We can get each other through things and we don't need to be talking all the time. We just know what is needed and it has worked out well for us.”

Richards, who will be 19 on Boxing Day, is relishing the challenge of his first game in Wales against a side unbeaten in eight games.

He said: “Cardiff are a very difficult team to beat, especially at Ninian Park. They have a terrific set of fans who really get behind their team.

“Their defensive record is very good, just 18 goals conceded, so we know they will be hard to break down. Then they have Robert Earnshaw up front who will be a dangerman.

“But the way we are playing at the moment we are confident here that we can go there and get a win.”

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