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Richards Heaps Praise On Atkinson

17 November 2012

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Chesterfield striker Marc Richards has heaped praise on Huddersfield loanee Chris Atkinson after the young Terrier struck a dramatic last-gasp winner against Oxford United.

The former Port Vale hit man himself returned from a hamstring injury to step off the bench and supply a delicate lay off that the 20-year-old latched onto, before bursting through the gaping Us defence and slotting home beneath the advancing Ryan Clarke.

It was Atkinson's fourth goal since joining he Spireites on loan from the John Smith's Stadium, three of which have now been the decisive goal following solitary strikes against Aldershot Town and Exeter City respectively.

"I was delighted for Atko and the rest of the lads to get the winner, it was due," Rico told the club's media team at full-time.

"Hirdy got the ball at the back and I managed to pin the centre-half, he found me with a good ball and firm pass which allowed me to just get a first-time lay-off to Atko and he's been told to make those runs off the strikers and it paid off tonight.

"I think all three or four of his goals have been winners, so it just shows the class of the lad. He's a good player, he's young and enthusiastic and hopefully he can keep getting goals.

"We started poorly. Oxford came here and set their stall our early on and got the goal and for the first 20 minutes, we didn't look in the game at all. Once we got hold of the game, we were the better team and created the better chances."

The 30-year-old forward has endured a frustrating season since his switch to the Proact, scoring his only goal of the campaign in the 4-3 victory over Paul Cook's Accrington before later going on to suffer ankle ligament damage back in September.

His comeback was short-lived too, when he limped out of action just six minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute in the 2-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town.

But Richards stepped off the bench alongside the evergreen Jack Lester and former Portuguese international Luis Boa Morte to make his 400th career appearance and set-up Atkinson's winner.

"I think it shows the strength of the squad," Marc said about the substitutions.

"Although we've got a small squad, we've got a strong bench. The likes of Craig Westcarr and Neal Trotman weren't even in the squad today and they are players that can come in and do a good job.

"It was good that we had fresh legs with experience, it's not often you can get that and me and Jack have come on and tried to make our presence felt.

"Everything is fine now," Richards added about his injury-ravaged season. 

"I've done a lot of running and trained towards the end of last week, I was lucky to be part of the plans for today but i'll be pushing for a start as soon as possible. I'm champing at the bit to get back into the full flow of things.

"It was a frustrating start not having got a goal early on. I picked up an injury in the game I did score and then a hamstring strain on my return, it's been one of those seasons for me. I've not had a season like this for a while, but hopefully now, touch wood, I can get through the season with no injury concerns.

"I didn't know at all [about his 400th appearance]. It's a nice benchmark but hopefully there's another couple of hundred still in me."

You can catch Marc's interview in full exclusively on Spireites Player

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