A photo headshot of Albion Under-21s player Matt Richards ahead of the 2023/24 season

Richards gained plenty of experience during a short loan spell with non-league Stourbridge in December 2023. 

2021/22 Academy Player of the Year winner Matty penned pro terms with the club before the end of his scholarship.

A sign of intent, Richards signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to keep him at the club until at least the summer of 2025 after proving himself an example to his team-mates through consistent displays and application on the pitch.

Matt made a positive impression during his first year as a scholar, featuring in both the U21s and U18s. While his second year as a scholar saw him play most of his minutes in the PL2 team.

Richards is a defensive midfielder who enjoys breaking up play and setting up attacking moves from the centre of the field.

The youngster began the 2021/22 season in the Under-18s, but the central midfielder embraced the challenge of playing at a higher level and spent a large part of the campaign playing under Richard Beale in the Under-23s. 

And Richards proved his versatility in Albion's PL2 side, slotting seamlessly in at the right side of a back three in defence to great effect. Matt played an important part in helping Beale's men win the Premier League Cup and as a reward for his consistency and positive strides forward in development, the midfielder won the Academy Player of the Season Award.

Overall, Matt benefitted from 13 appearances in Richard Beale's U21s during his first term as a scholar and is now an important member of the PL2 side.