Accrington Stanley boss hails 'professional' display

First published in Sport

LEAM Richardson praised his players’ professionalism after Accrington Stanley claimed a 4-1 FA Cup win at non-league AFC Fylde in his first game as the club’s permanent boss.

Midfielder Will Hatfield scored all four goals to give Stanley a comfortable first round win over Evo-Stik Premier Division opposition at Kellamergh Park on Saturday.

Richardson was appointed Stanley boss on Thursday – having previously guided the Reds to a 1-0 league win at home to Bristol Rovers as caretaker manager, following Paul Cook’s departure to Chesterfield.

And the 32-year-old was delighted to avoid a potential FA Cup banana skin and start his permanent tenure with a win.

“People were saying it was a banana skin, and I totally agreed with them,” Richardson said.

“I addressed it quite early with the players but I also addressed how good we were. I said, ‘Don’t underestimate us, as long as we offer professionalism, desire and application we’ll be okay’. I thought we offered it in abundance and the quality shone through.

“Everything we asked for before the game they offered.

“That’s fantastic for a manager.”

Richardson opted to stick with the same side that beat Bristol Rovers, with £18,000 in prize money available for victory over AFC Fylde, and he was impressed with Hatfield’s four-goal salvo.

It was Richardson who brought Hatfield back to the club on a permanent basis midway through last season, in his first spell as caretaker boss.

The 21-year-old had previously had a loan spell from Leeds.

Hatfield netted three times at the end of last term but had not found the net this season.

“I’d had a little word with him on Friday asking him how many minutes he’d gone without a goal and he pops up with four, so I’m made up for him,” Richardson said.

“He’s got that kind of habit.

“That’s why I brought him to the club in the first place last year, and he showed last year how much of a goalscorer he is.

“To get four in the FA Cup, he’ll have that throughout his career. Nobody will ever take that away from him.”

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