Oxford United striker Richards out to succeed where Aston Villa failed

Justin Richards puts Sheffield United’s Danny Higginbotham under pressure at the Kassam Stadium last week

Justin Richards puts Sheffield United’s Danny Higginbotham under pressure at the Kassam Stadium last week

First published in Sport Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

JUSTIN Richards is relishing the chance to succeed where Aston Villa failed this week as Oxford United attempt to win at Bradford City.

The Bantams made headlines around the world on Tuesday night, when they beat Paul Lambert’s Premier League side 3-1 in their Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.

It came hot on the heels of wins earlier in the competition against Arsenal and Wigan Athletic and took the npower League Two side to the brink of the final at Wembley next month.

Before the second leg, City return to the bread and butter of league action and the U’s head to west Yorkshire looking to bring Phil Parkinson’s side firmly back down to earth.

Richards does not believe the stunning midweek result should do anything to alter the visitors’ plans, although the thought of performing better than a top flight side adds spice to the trip.

“You could look at it like that,” he said.

“They had nothing to lose in the week, but Saturday will be different.

“The pressure is on them because they’re doing well and will be expected to win the game, especially having won against Aston Villa.

“With regards to us, I don’t think it affects how we approach the game.

“It would more affect them and where their minds are at after being on such a high from Tuesday.

“We should just approach it as we would in any game.”

Richards, who made his return U’s debut in the FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United last weekend, is available again after being cup-tied for the penalty shoot-out defeat to Southend United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday.

Out of contract in the summer, the 32-year-old is keen to impress during his one-month loan from Burton Albion and United’s fixture list will certainly give him a chance to perform against the division’s leading lights.

The trip to Valley Parade is the first of five successive opponents in League Two’s top ten, but Richards, who has scored five times in his last six meetings with Bradford, insists the run should inspire, rather than intimidate.

He said: “As a player these are the kind of games you look forward to.

“When I first spoke to the manager he gave me a run-down of the games.

“I’m always happier to play in those types of games where you have something to play for.”

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