Matt's waiting in the wings

MATT Richards may be set to make another big forward move in his sparkling young career.The 18-year-old Ipswich Town left wing-back sees the three-game ban for Hermann Hreidarsson as a big possibility for further Portman Road progress.

By Dave Allard

MATT Richards may be set to make another big forward move in his sparkling young career.

The 18-year-old Ipswich Town left wing-back sees the three-game ban for Hermann Hreidarsson as a big possibility for further Portman Road progress.

Icelandic international Hreidarsson is to miss three games following his straight red card at Bradford last Saturday.


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It starts with the next match at home to Wolves on February 19, and is followed by the visit of Grimsby and the East Anglian derby at Norwich.

"You have to think positively and I naturally see the possibility of a run in the side," says the

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ever-emerging Blues aspirant from Bishop's Stortford.

"So much of what has happened to me at the club this season has been a bonus.

"To play in place of Hermann during his suspension would be a massive one, but I know there are other options for the manager."

The level-headed defender, who can also play midfield, is quick to add: "I'm certainly not getting over confident. That's never been my way.

"My next big target is having a good game against Arsenal reserves at Portman Road on Wednesday, but I have to admit that I see a big chance which I hope may come."

When Richards reported to Portman Road for pre-season training in early July he dared not hope for more than achieving a regular reserve team place in midweek while continuing to do

weekend duty for the youths.

Former manager George Burley had other ideas and he was soon thrust into the senior squad.

A full debut came in the away UEFA Cup leg at Avenir Beggen of Luxembourg in August and Richards was also a used substitute in the return.

The youngster came on against Middlesbrough at home in the Worthington Cup and he

completed a cup hat-trick by making a full home debut in the FA Cup tie with Morecambe.

Then came a league debut as a substitute in the away game at Burnley. Now a home league

baptism is the dream against Wolves and Richards would love it to be a full one with him being in the starting line-up in place of Hreidarsson.

"The season has been fantastic for me so far. More has happened than I ever thought it would and I just want it to go on and on," said Richards, who only turned 18 at Christmas.

Constant encouragement is offered by manager Joe Royle and his coaching staff.

"They keep telling me that I can make it into the first team regularly and that I have to keep working and working in training. That's what I've always done and will continue to do," he said.

Work on improving the right foot and speed off the mark, are the main items on Richards individual training programme at the club.

Willie Donachie, the Town assistant manager who is a former Scottish international left-back, is helping a great deal with the extra pace development especially.

Richards added: "He has ideas for taking stress off the legs, using the body more to

generate extra speed."

Like the rest of the Blues staff, this teenage hopeful felt the death of former assistant

manager Dale Roberts very deeply this week.

"He helped me so much in the reserves last season. Dale was a great man to learn from," Richards said.

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