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Richards: There's more to come

PUBLISHED: 20:00 25 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:46 03 March 2010

TEEN ace Matt Richards today promised Ipswich Town fans: "There is plenty more young talent to come."

Richards is the latest richly-talented youngster to drop off the Portman Road production line.

TEEN ace Matt Richards today promised Ipswich Town fans: "There is plenty more young talent to come."

Richards is the latest richly-talented youngster to drop off the Portman Road production line.

The 18-year-old has made a big impression in the last month after becoming a regular in a Town side that looks as though it will just miss out on a place in the Nationwide League First Division play-offs.

But Richards is confident Ipswich supporters can look forward to a bright future – even if the club's promotion dream ends tomorrow.

Richards is likely to be one of Town's stars next season and the left-sided defender forecasts bright times ahead even if financial restrictions mean an exodus of experienced players during the close-season.

"I am sure we will have enough talent in the squad to be capable of promotion," said Richards, who was delighted to be acclaimed for his role in Blues' stunning 3-0 win over title-chasing Portsmouth after keeping the likes of Paul Merson and Steve Stone quiet.

"There are a number of players waiting to come through from the academy like Aiden Collins and Dean Bowditch."

Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble and Darren Ambrose have moved on from the Ipswich Academy to step up to the Premiership and Richards harbours ambitions to play at the highest level.

"I am happy at Ipswich and want to stay," he said. "I was always confident I would be able to make the step up to first team football.

"I shared digs with both Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose and they both deserve the limelight they have received, but I was confident my turn would come.

"I have been fortunate that both Jamie Clapham and Hermann Hreidarsson have moved on, and have to be pleased with the way things have gone.

"I still have plenty to work on, and need to improve kicking with my right foot and my heading. I am comfortable at left back, left wing-back and left midfield and don't mind where I play."

Richards has no doubts he made the right decision when he turned his back on a promising rugby career to concentrate on football.

He knows Town must beat Wimbledon tomorrow – and hope play-off rivals Reading or Nottingham Forest lose – to keep the promotion dream alive.

The Harlow-raised teenager, and ex-Essex schools rugby star, said today: "We look like paying a heavy price for losing our concentration for two minutes at Rotherham on Easter Monday.

"We went into the match in a positive mood after beating Portsmouth well, and we ran the game. But we ended up with nothing – and the odds are now stacked heavily against us.

"But we will give 100 per cent against Wimbledon and hope we are still in with a chance of a top six place going into our final game."

Richards first trained with Ipswich as a ten-year-old and joined the Academy straight from school. He says playing rugby in his early teens helped his football.

"I did not have to dally for one second before putting football ahead of rugby. But my rugby experience has not been in vain as it improved my upper body strength."


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