Cobblers top scorer Richards to remain on penalty duty

ON THE SPOT - Marc Richards has missed two of his past three penalties, but scored the most important one
ON THE SPOT - Marc Richards has missed two of his past three penalties, but scored the most important one

Marc Richards will remain on penalty duty for the Cobblers despite failing to score with two of his past three efforts from the spot.

Richards, who has scored 17 goals this season, hit the post from 12 yards in the 2-1 win over Morecambe and saw his attempt superbly saved by Bobby Olejnik in last weekend’s 3-0 victory over York.

Neither had a bearing on the match but the one in between - a nerveless strike to secure a point in injury time in a 1-1 draw at Mansfield - did, and manager Chris Wilder is happy for Richards to remain on penalty duty.

“It was a great save on Saturday,” he said. “I don’t see any reason to change. He took a 94th-minute penalty at Mansfield and I think that tells you everything you need to know about him.

“Sometimes, and Marc will admit this, you don’t hit them as well as you like and the one against Morecambe wasn’t a good one, he knows that.

“But the save on Saturday and I thought their goalkeeper was outstanding after his earlier error and he kept them in the game at times.

“So, Marc has got enough maturity and quality and there is absolutely no problem with him stepping up for the next one we get.”

Meanwhile, the club will continue to monitor their physio and sports science positions following the departure of Stuart Barker this week.

Barker left Sixfields to establish his own private practice and his role will be undertaken by youth-team physio Anders Braastad, who was previously with Aston Villa.

“It was a personal decision by Stuart and if we can make a decision in-house, we’ll look at doing that,” confirmed Wilder.

“Anders has done well but he’s a young professional making his way in the senior game.

“Regarding that and the sports science, it’s something we can keep looking at and assessing and when the time is right we’ll get that done.”