SWINDON Town striker Marc Richards has taken his first steps in coaching after he was named as a youth team coach at League Two rivals Northampton Town.

The 35-year-old striker, who joined Swindon after leaving the Cobblers in January, will work at Sixfields while continuing his playing commitments for Phil Brown’s troops.

Although Richards admits he is keen to make a move in the coaching direction, he says he is not quite ready to give up on playing just yet, having been made assistant coach to the Northampton Town Centre of Excellence U14s team.

The Town frontman, who scored 11 times in 20 appearances for Town last season, told the Northampton Chronicle that the job has allowed him to think about life after he hangs up his boots.

"I heard about the vacant role and I approached Mark Lyons (Cobblers’ assistant academy manager) and said it was was something I would like to do, and it progressed from there,” said Richards

“Coaching in football once I retire is something I would like to do, and it is something I can work at while I am still able to play.

“Having been involved with Northampton as a club and knowing how well run they are, it is a good base for me to learn.

“I have another year at Swindon and I want to carry on playing as long as possible really, until the legs can’t take it any more.

“Then, hopefully when the time comes for me to hang my boots up I might have two or three years of coaching with the youngsters under my belt.”

The new role at Sixfields will be a considerable commitment from Richards, who still lives in Northampton, as he travels between the Cobblers and the Energy Check County Ground.

“I am travelling to Swindon for training and travelling back to Northampton, and there is training on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, and then it is game day on Sunday.

“It is pretty much all go, and I don’t get much time to do anything else other than train and then go and coach.

“It’s a long week and it’s long days, but I enjoy it, and I have enjoyed getting to know the lads I am working with and watching them, and hopefully with my knowledge and experience I can help their progression.”

Richards has passed his FA Level One and FA Level Two coaching badges, and will complete his UEFA B, or FA Level Three qualification this summer, qualifying him to be a head coach of youths up to age 16 and an assistant coach for a professional club.