Northampton manager Rob Page was delighted to see Marc Richards make full use of a rare opportunity on Saturday when the Cobblers skipper netted twice in victory over Bury.
A combination of injuries and Alex Revell’s form has kept Richards on the sidelines for much of the season so far but his performance on Saturday was a timely reminder to everyone that he still has much to offer.
With Revell suspended, Richards started on his own up front against Bury and scored twice, first converting Matty Taylor’s in-swinging free-kick before emphatically dispatching a second-half penalty.
On his skipper’s lack of game-time, Page said: “I think it’s credit to the additions we’ve brought in over the summer because Rico’s an outstanding player and has been an unbelievable servant for this football club.
“He’s a model professional and he’s the captain.
“We had a conversation the other week. He pulled me about the captaincy but I said no because he’s the club captain and he’s my captain as well.
“He was a big part of what happened last season and while I’ve got pros like himself around the changing room, that won’t change and he’ll be the captain.
“I’m really pleased he got his opportunity on Saturday because he’s never been fitter from an injury point of view - there’s nothing up with him and he’s proven that.”
Matty Taylor was as equally pleased to see the captain return to form, saying: “I’m really happy for Rico.
“He’s done exceptionally well and he’s worked hard. He hasn’t had many chances but he scored two goals so we’re looking good.”
We had a conversation the other week. He pulled me about the captaincy but I said no because he’s the club captain and he’s my captain as well.Rob Page
Richards’ performance now gives Page another selection headache to go with several other dilemmas across the pitch.
“That’s why we did the business in the summer,” Page added. “The lads who were here last season have had to raise their game because of the quality we’ve brought into the club.
“It’s over to them to lose the jersey. They’ve given a good account of themselves on Saturday and that’s all I ask of the players.”
Taylor continued: “That’s what you want as a manager. Decisions like that are never easy of course but that’s something the manager will deal with.
“It’s a good position for the football club to be in to have two very experienced strikers that are both scoring goals and giving the manager a headache.”