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Courtney: I thought my career was over

After all, it was against the Lions that the striker made his senior league debut back in September. However, it was hardly a day to savour for the 23-year-old.

Less than five minutes had elapsed when a momentary miscontrol and a desperate desire to make amends for the error resulted in a poor challenge and a red card for the former Leamington FC man.

The day would have a happy ending as goals from Kyle Naughton and Oli McBurnie saw Graham Potter's men get their reward for a brave backs-to-the-wall effort.

But Baker-Richardson wondered if his first-team chance had come and gone in the blink of an eye, on the same weekend when he had been set to perform the best man duties at his best friend's wedding.

"My best mate, who lives in Australia, was getting married and I was due to be best man. The gaffer told me I’d be travelling with the side so I was gutted to be missing the wedding but, at the same time, really excited to potentially be involved in a Championship game," says Baker-Richardson.

"I found out just before the game that I’d be starting, which is the stuff that dreams are made of.

"With the tackle, I just got caught in two minds. The defender wasn’t tight to me and I didn’t know whether to lay the ball off to Daniel James or turn. I ended up doing neither, took a heavy touch and desperately tried to win the ball back.

"I thought my career was finished. I was panicking and sweating in the dressing room. I was so angry with myself. Fortunately, the boys rescued me and managed to win the game.

"Everyone was very supportive of me. They told me to dust myself off and show what I can do. It was probably the most positive feedback I’ve had in a situation like that. I can’t give them enough praise."

But Potter showed faith in the forward, and his return to the starting line-up against QPR later that month saw him net his first EFL goal, and he is grateful for the backing his manager showed him as he feared the worst.

"Under many a coach, I don’t think I’d have seen a pitch again. Fortunately, the gaffer had faith in me, I’ve learned from my mistakes and come back a lot stronger. Every day is a learning curve and that was one of them," he added.

"There’s always a point to prove. As a striker, scoring goals is your bread and butter. I want to show them what I’m really about and what they didn’t get to see. I want to go out, give a good account of myself and, hopefully, get a positive result."

He has scored in two of his three previous two starts, and Baker-Richardson will hope to have reason to remember a meeting with Millwall with greater fondness come Saturday evening.

 

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