Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Lewis Richards and Huddersfield Town youngster Brahima Diarra praised after Harrogate Town win

Paul Thirlwell was left thoroughly impressed by the contribution made by all three of Harrogate Town's young loan players during Saturday's 3-0 win over Oldham Athletic.

By Rhys Howell
Monday, 24th January 2022, 1:59 pm
Updated Monday, 24th January 2022, 2:00 pm
Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Lewis Richards made his Harrogate Town debut during Saturday's 3-0 League Two success at home to Oldham Athletic. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Lewis Richards, 20, made his debut for the club on the left of a new-look back-three and showed up well despite having no previous experience of League Two football.

Further forward, hugely-gifted attacking midfielder Brahima Diarra once again caught the eye on what was the 18-year-old's fourth consecutive start since making the temporary switch from Huddersfield Town earlier this month.

And, fellow Terriers loanee Josh Austerfield, 20, also made an impression from the substitutes bench having been introduced to the engine room in the 79th minute.

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Brahima Diarra has started all four of the games that Harrogate Town have played since he arrived on loan from Championship Huddersfield at the beginning of January.

Hat-trick hero Jack Muldoon was, quite naturally, the Sulphurites' stand-out performer, and while there were strong displays across the board, Harrogate's assistant manager was delighted with what he saw from the three least-experienced members of Saturday's side.

“I thought Lewis was fantastic,” said Thirlwell, who took charge of proceedings at the weekend due to Town boss Weaver’s Covid-enforced absence from the dug-out.

“I think it helped us that it’s a position he is used to playing for Wolves. He dropped in there seamlessly. He was aggressive with his defending and composed on the ball.

“Brahima just gets bums off seats, doesn’t he. Every time he touches the ball you feel like something is going to happen.

“He’s really durable, strong and a really good footballer.

“Josh [Austerfield] was the perfect player to go on for the last 15-20 minutes once Lloyd [Kerry] took a knock to the ankle.

"He took the sting out of the game, helped control it, was nice and composed.”

Richards became Town's fourth signing of the January transfer window when he opted to swap the Premier League for English football's fourth tier last week.

The left-footer joined Wolves from Brentford aged 15, has featured for the Molineux club's under-21s in the EFL Trophy for the past three seasons and has also represented Ireland at under-19 and under-21 level.

He was promoted to Wolves' first team in the 2019/20 season and was then awarded a new contract in July 2020, after featuring in match-day squads for Europa League ties against both Besiktas and Sevilla.

He was then regularly included in Nuno Espirito Santo's match-day squads throughout the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.

Huddersfield's Diarra started his football career in France, turning out for his local club Montrouge FC 92 before joining the Terriers in July 2019 and signing his first professional contract a year later.

He made his senior debut for Carlos Corberan's team in December 2020, when he came on as a substitute against AFC Bournemouth in a Championship fixture.

Austerfield arrived at Wetherby Road boasting slightly more experience of senior football having featured for Huddersfield's first team on a couple of occasions.

He made his professional debut in September 2020 against Rochdale in the EFL Cup before going on to play in the Terriers’ FA Cup tie against Plymouth at the start of 2021.