Richards wants place back

FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE (SOUTH)Ipswich Town Reserves 0Watford Reserves 0MATT Richards is fit and he wants his first-team place back.The England Under-21 defender, who missed out on a place in the European Championship squad and in Town's last two games, showed he has recovered from a foot injury as the Blues reserves kept a clean sheet in the goal-less draw against Watford last night.

By Derek Davis

FA PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE (SOUTH)

Ipswich Town Reserves 0

Watford Reserves 0


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MATT Richards is fit and he wants his first-team place back.

The England Under-21 defender, who missed out on a place in the European Championship squad and in Town's last two games, showed he has recovered from a foot injury as the Blues reserves kept a clean sheet in the goal-less draw against Watford last night.

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The left-sided player had no adverse reactions to the gash which had caused the lay-off, but he knows it will be difficult to reclaim his left-back position after Fabian Wilnis filled in so well in Town's wins over Cardiff, Rotherham and Wolves.

Richards said: “They have been playing very well but I hope to get my place back. I feel fine and the injury has healed.

“It is good to have competition for places and a nice problem for the manager to have. Fabian has coped well and has not had too many problems on the left side but I want my place back.

“The injury cost me a place in the England side and Ipswich, which was unfortunate, but the important thing is to be back fit and, hopefully, I will be involved against Millwall on Sunday, then Stoke on Tuesday, and show how well I can play again.”

Richards helped a youthful Blues' second string hold on for a point after having the better of the early play against the Hornets.

A scrappy first half started promisingly with an early Tony Dinning free-kick tipped over the bar by former Town and Colchester United keeper Alec Chamberlain.

Pablo Counago was playing alongside Adem Atay, being tried out up front for the Blues. The Spaniard had a close range effort cleared off the line by Jack Smith and showed the occasional good touch. He played an excellent through ball for winger Daniel Flack but the youngster took too long and then too many touches to make anything of it.

Scott Barron was enjoying a left-side of midfield role and showed terrific skill before playing a ball to Owen Garvan, whose 20-yard shot drifted wide.

Watford showed little in the way of invention although Lewis Price, fresh from keeping a clean sheet for Wales Under-21s in Azerbaijan, made a good save to push away an Andy Ferrell free-kick. The Town keeper watched gratefully as Jason Norville's 20-yard dipping shot hit the crossbar and rebounded to safety early in the second half.

The Hornets had experienced and strong Bruce Dyer up front but so effective and sturdy were Jerome Sobers and Scott Mitchell in central defence he hardly got a kick, and when he did get a chance in the last minute he sliced the ball wide from six yards.

Substitute Jamie Collins did though, and his powerful angled drive crashed away off the Blues' crossbar, four minutes from time.

Ipswich Town Reserves: Price, Synott, Richards, Garvan (Manning, 88), Sobers, Mitchell, Flack, Dinning, Counago, Atay (Knights, 73) and Barron (Craig, 88). Subs not used: Supple and Casement.

Watford Reserves: Chamberlain, Smith, Darlington, Blizzard, DeMerit, Doyley, Young, Norville (Grant, 84) Dyer, Diagourga (McNamee, 78) and Ferrell (Collins, 78). Subs not used: Herd and Gilligan.

Referee: Mr N Kinseley (Essex).

Attendance: 227.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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