Aston Villa's Kieran Richardson eager to bounce back from QPR showing

The fit-again midfielder is back up to speed and keen to use his experience of Premier League relegation battles to Villa's benefit.

Aston Villa’s Kieran Richardson has admitted to AVTV that he was relieved to get through the full 90 minutes of their 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers unscathed after just returning to training.

Richardson, 30, started Tim Sherwood’s first game in charge against Stoke at left-back but was forced off in the 42nd-minute with a calf problem, missing the next six matches as a result.

The versatile wide man returned to training ahead of last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester United, however, and, despite his lack of match fitness, was back in the line-up for the subsequent visit of QPR due to club’s various defensive injuries.

After six weeks out, though, the former England man was somewhat off the pace on the night and, with all three QPR goals coming from attacks down Villa’s left, fans were far from pleased with his performance.

Nevertheless, with 90 minutes now under his belt and a full week of training, Richardson insists he is feeling fit and eager to use his experience to help the club during their fight to avoid the drop.

“The new manager came in and I lasted just 40 minutes into his first game and had been out for six weeks,” he said. “Coming back for QPR, I think only trained for four sessions before I actually played so it was just great to play 90 minutes without any scares.”

Richardson has fought his fair share of Premier League relegation battles during his career, having been a core part of West Bromwich Albion’s 2004-05 great escape, as well as helped Sunderland avoid the drop four seasons later.

He was less fortunate with Fulham last term, having been unable to prevent his side from dropping down to the Championship, but is confident that new boss Sherwood will help guide Villa out of trouble over their remaining six top-flight fixtures.

“Obviously you look at the fixture list and the teams around you but I think we’ve got to take each game at a time,” he added.

“We’ve shown we’re more than capable of beating anyone, like when he won 1-0 at Liverpool – no one expected it, so we’ve got to be confident that we can get something out of each game.

“The coaches have been fantastic in the way they’ve come in and got everyone going. Obviously everyone was a bit down before but I think any new manager brings a spark and he’s definitely done that.

“He’s a great character around the place, with great man management skills and is a pleasure to work with.”

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