A welcome Matt for defender Richards

FORMER Ipswich defender Matt Richards played for Orient in a pre-season friendly at Billericay on Tuesday night and looks to be on the verge of joining the club, WRITES TREVOR DAVIES. The 24-year-old, who was released by the Championship side at the end o

FORMER Ipswich defender Matt Richards played for Orient in a pre-season friendly at Billericay on Tuesday night and looks to be on the verge of joining the club, WRITES TREVOR DAVIES.

The 24-year-old, who was released by the Championship side at the end of last season, has been training at Orient and was one of four trialists on show at Billiericay, along with Jon Brown, Dominic Casciato and Jamie Davis.

O's boss Geraint Williams said afterwards: "Everyone gave their best and decisions will have to be made. Some players won't be good enough and some may be offered things.

"That's why we take a look at them and there are more players out there to be looked at."


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But with Richards joining the team on their club tour to Ireland yesterday (Wednesday) and with O's desperate to sign a left back, a move to Orient looks imminent.

Before Tuesday's first pre-season friendly Williams said: "Matt has worked hard in training and I'm sure he could do a job for us. I'll see how he goes against Billericay."

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Following the departure of Danny Granville and Aiden Palmer at the end of last season, Williams is keen to strengthen his defensive options down the left and the number three shirt is still vacant in the Orient squad list.

Although Charlie Daniels played the majority of last season there, he believes his best position is in midfield.

Richards has an impressive pedigree, he made 118 league starts for Ipswich and 51 more for Brighton, where he has spent three loan spells.

And it seems a move to Orient would suit the defender, who was born in Harlow.

With Orient's League One opener at Bristol Rovers less than a month away, Williams admits that he will make his mind up about Richards sooner rather than later.

"We will make a decision quickly, which is only fair to both parties." said Williams.

If he does sign, he will be the fifth summer arrival, joining Scott McGleish, Ben Chorley, Adrian Patulea and Jimmy Smith.

The O's boss admits that his squad is still on the thin side, but is pleased with his summer signings to date.

"Things are coming together well," he said.

"The players have worked hard and although there are still a couple of places to fill, I'm happy with the way things are going.

"There is always an option of bringing players in on loan, and I'm still looking to sign a couple of players who would start in the first team, or be pushing very hard for a place.

"I'm looking for quality, and with the budgets being tight, it's important that there is some versatility in the squad.

"At the top clubs they can afford to have two good players competing for every position, but the further you come down, it becomes much more of a juggling act.

"We have not got the biggest of squads, but I'm pleased with the signings. It's a case of quality rather than quantity."

With numbers thin on the ground, Williams will be hoping to steer clear of any injuries during the pre-season games. "We have done our work on the training ground and it will be good to get a few run outs," he said.

"But I don't want any injuries, it's important that everyone is available for selection for the first league game. Apart from a few blistered feet, everyone is okay at the moment, and that's the way I want it to stay."

Orient flew out to Ireland yesterday (Wednesday), for a four-day training camp and a friendly with Eircom League Division One side Kildare County on Friday.

"The surface at the training ground is very hard at the moment and we have done a lot of work there recently," said Williams.

"It will be good to have a change of scene and a trip like this will help the new boys settle in and enable us to bond and build a really strong team spirit.

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