Richards rues Watford mistake, but loves his Crystal Palace reply

Fired up for promotion: Jazz Richards on his home debut against Charlton Athletic    SP72945

Fired up for promotion: Jazz Richards on his home debut against Charlton Athletic SP72945

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Jazz Richards learnt more about redemption in only his third appearance for Crystal Palace than some players do in their entire careers.

For it was in front of the Sky cameras on Friday night that the full-back’s slack clearance found only Almen Abdi, who went on to fire Watford ahead in a vital Championship clash.

However, it was front of the same cameras that Richards’s perfect pass found Kevin Phillips for the equalising goal and a 2-2 result that could, and according to manager Ian Holloway should, have been more.

But Palace’s second half display at Vicarage Road, which saw Peter Ramage halve the 2-0 deficit before substitute Phillips struck the leveller, has loanee Richards pleased he made the January switch from Swansea City.

“I was gutted to make the mistake, it was a bad clearance and it is not nice to be the one in the spotlight,” the 21-year-old said.

“But a lot of people make mistakes, it was just unfortunate that it happened to me.

“So to contribute to the goal at the other end made me feel a whole lot better, and it was an important goal as well.

“As long as I am doing well on the creating goals side of things then I am sure not a lot more can go wrong.”

He added: “The Palace fans were fantastic to me and on the night in general. Normally I block out the noise of the crowd but it was impossible to do that at Watford.

“Our fans were nosier than the home fans, and their support is one of the reasons I joined Palace.”

Richards was one of Holloway’s five loan signings when the transfer window opened, and the boss was another reason the Welsh international agreed to leave the Liberty stadium, albeit temporarily.

"This is my first time away from Swansea, and my first time away from Wales, so it was a big move for me,” he said.

“But Stephen [Dobbie] has trained with Ian [Holloway] in his time and Blackpool and he said he is an excellent coach.

“I’ve heard a lot about Ian, he trains with a smile, and he gets his message across well. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and that appeals to me.”

Palace have two games at fortress Selhurst Park, against fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough this weekend and struggling Bristol City on Tuesday, and Richards wants the team to continue the form it showed at Vicarage Road.

He said: “I believe Crystal Palace is a team that can win promotion, and I want to be part of that success.

“If we play anywhere near as well as we did against Watford for the rest of the season, there are not many teams that can stay with us.

“We have the confidence, and we have the players.”

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