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Jay Saunders praises Jack Richards after Maidstone United youngster joins Welling on loan

By Craig Tucker

Jack Richards may have been loaned out to Welling but Jay Saunders says he's been one of Maidstone's best players.

Richards, 18, is well ahead of schedule at United having made 10 appearances in the National League this season, scoring the winner against Wrexham on his first start.

But with Jamar Loza, Delano Sam-Yorke and Tom Wraight back from injury, Maidstone have sent their academy graduate on a month's loan to Welling.

Jack Richards celebrates scoring Maidstone's winner against Wrexham Picture Andy Jones

Jack Richards celebrates scoring Maidstone's winner against Wrexham Picture: Andy Jones

He made his debut as a half-time substitute as Jamie Coyle's side won 1-0 at Gloucester on Saturday.

Stones boss Saunders said: "Jack’s been outstanding this season.

"Since he came back for pre-season I think he’s been one of our best players but I had to make a decision.

"This is the first year he can’t play in the academy so whereas before if he was on the bench he was still getting minutes during the week, now he’s not, so I had to look at it and Jack’s a player who’s all about sharpness and I didn’t want him losing his fitness.

"Coyley was desperate for someone who can play on the left and I just thought it was a good opportunity for him with Jamar coming back to fitness and Tom Wraight and Delano back.

"We’ve got a lot of options and I had to make a decision on one of them maybe going out on loan.

"I just felt for Jack - you’ve got to remember he’s just turned 18 and he needs to play and keep learning - would really benefit from a month’s worth of games."

Richards had unhappy loan spells at East Grinstead, Faversham and Sevenoaks last season but the big Maidstone connection at Park View Road should help him.

Saunders said: "He knows Coyley, Jack Parkinson, Joe Healy, he knows a few of the boys, so I think it’s a perfect move for all parties."

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