Young Hartlepool United defender Kenton Richardson discusses his comeback, position and injury set-back

After a stellar pre-season campaign, things were looking positive for Kenton Richardson ahead of the new National League season at Hartlepool United.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 6:00 pm
Kenton Richardson of Hartlepool United in action with Inih Effiong of Dover Athletic during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Dover Athletic at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 21st September 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

The 20-year-old defender was handed a starting spot for the season opener against Sutton United as the right-back position was his to lose.

Unfortunately an ankle injury sustained during the opening day defeat sidelined Richardson for over a month as he now looks to regain a regular spot in the side.

After a 10 game absence, he has now started the last two matches at centre-back and is set to retain his place for Saturday’s trip to Eastleigh.

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And despite playing out of position on the left side of a back three, Richardson is relishing being back.

“I’ve really enjoyed it coming back and I think I’ve been all right for the most part,” he said.

“I was feeling really positive after pre-season and I was delighted with how I did and starting the opening game was great for me.

“I think I deserved the start so to get injured was really gutting after all the hard work I’d put in over the summer to get into the team. That was all undone by that injury but I’m just glad to be back and ready to kick-on.

“It’s not my natural position playing centre-half but for me I’m just happy to be on the pitch and giving it my all really, I’ll play anywhere. It is hard on the left, everything changes for you but I’ve been working on my left foot in training so I’m ready to play on the left side and I won’t be scared to use my weaker foot.”

As one of the younger members of the squad, Richardson pointed to the importance of having an experienced head in Michael Raynes alongside him at the back.

“Without a doubt, Raynesy is so important,” he added.

“He talks throughout the game because he’s an experienced pro who knows a lot about the game and he helps me through games if I’m ever unsure about stuff.

“Now the hard part will be keeping my place, our squad is a lot bigger than last year and there’s a few defenders still to come back.”