STRIKER Marc Richards has been backed by Swindon Town manager Phil Brown, despite again failing to find the net against Crewe Alexandra in Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat.

Richards has found the net only once in nine League Two appearances this season, a stat that’s a far cry from his strong form in the second half of last season’s campaign which saw the 36-year-old forward score 10 goals in 20 appearances.

The Town boss opted to switch Richards with summer recruit Jermaine McGlashan just before the hour mark on Tuesday night, a decision which Brown admits wasn’t down to Richards’ wrongdoing but more a decision to mix things up as they searched for an equaliser.

Brown has since backed Richards to return to form ahead of this weekend’s home tie against his former club Northampton, with whom he is still employed as the club’s U14s assistant coach.

“It’s a case of putting legs out there and changing the system, I’ll do anything to win a game of football,” said Brown when questioned about Richards’ form.

“That’s entirely what I did. Where Marc Richards is concerned, he was very unfortunate to be substituted before Elijah Adebayo (on Saturday against Oldham).

“Elijah’s form of late has been good enough to keep him in the team and give him a run in the team. Marc needs a run of games where he gets a number of chances.

“He had one or two opportunities in the first half (against Crewe), but they didn’t quite fall nicely to him.

“When a striker is looking for a goal it’s never going to fall perfectly to him, sometimes you have to take that opportunity.

“Marc fluffed his lines a couple of times in the opening half. It was a case of a change of personnel and system so we could cause Crewe more of a problem than what we had been doing.”

Brown also admitted Tuesday lacked the forward runs created by influential winger Matt Taylor, who was suspended.

Instead, teenager Joe Romanski filled Taylor’s void – a tactical move which Brown believes Crewe exploited well.

He said: “The consistent teams in this division will get promoted and win titles. At this moment in time we’re not consistent enough, and we need to find that level of consistency. “No disrespect to Joe Romanski at all but I thought the influence of Matt Taylor was missing. People need a shot in the arm to see what we are missing.

“Because Matt wasn’t out there I think we lacked any kind of drive down one side of the pitch and that’s the reason I made the changes.

“We’re looking at one or two things happening this week, hopefully Kaiyne Woolery will come through a full week of work. His threat of pace will add a bit of spice to our front line.

“It’s one of those where we will have to grind results out while we wait for those in the treatment room.”