Richards helped Simon Rusk’s side to an impressive 2-0 victory at Kingsmeadow in the Leasing.com Trophy last week, following a disappointing 5-3 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League 2.
But Friday’s visit to Chelsea provides an opportunity to get back on track in the league, and Richards is looking forward to playing under the lights at Stamford Bridge.
He said, “This team is strong. One defeat doesn’t define us — as you saw against AFC Wimbledon when we bounced back with a good performance.
“I’ve never played at Stamford Bridge before, but playing at Premier League grounds gives you that extra buzz. It should be a good game and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve played against Chelsea before and they’ve got some good players, but it shouldn’t be anything that we haven’t come across before.”
The 18-year-old, who arrived from Manchester City in July, reflected on his opening period on the south coast, and thanked his coaches for contributing towards his development.
“It’s been good so far — a different environment and different people, but everyone here, the staff and players, has made me feel right at home.
“The coaching staff — Simon, Crofty and Shannon — have been helping me a lot. There are things I’m doing well, but more things that I need to improve on to get to the next level.
“They see my strengths as a player, but more importantly they want my head to be in the right place. That will allow me to perform better, so I just need to keep working hard and be patient.”
Aaron Connolly and Steven Alzate have worked their way into the first-team picture after plying their trade for Albion’s under-23s in recent years, and Richards takes inspiration from their progress, while focusing on his own journey.
“It gives us a lot of hope. They’re good players and I’m happy for them that they’re getting an opportunity now. For the rest of us, it’s about how we make that step to get there.
“I trained with the first team a couple of times when I first came here, and when you train with them you just want to keep going, but you have to be patient and believe your time will come.”