TASKMASTER Taffy Richardson vowed to put Poole Town's players through a punishing training regime and admitted he would not be afraid to ruffle feathers.

Unveiled as Tom Killick's new assistant and first-team coach earlier this month, Dolphins legend Richardson set his sights on an immediate return to National South.

The 52-year-old, who has made more than 1,000 senior appearances in semi-professional football, underlined the importance of fitness in achieving that aim.

And he revealed he would happily put himself through the same gruelling tests he sets for Poole's squad.

Richardson told the Daily Echo: “Players have changed over the years. I will upset people, I know I will. I’m a bit old-fashioned and I will challenge the players to be fitter than any other team.

“I will take part in every bit of training. I wouldn’t ask the players to do anything I wouldn’t do. I won’t do it as quickly but I will do it.

“They are all good players and because they will be fitter than last season, they will be able to work harder.

“The players are a big influence on why I joined. I really like them. They are good lads. I went into the changing room quite a few times last season and I think they desperately want to put it right."

Despite his advancing years, midfield warhorse Richardson has found it hard to hang up his boots.

The former Bashley man, with more than 400 appearances for Poole under his belt, made 12 outings for Cranborne in the Dorset Senior League last season.

Reflecting on how his attitude in his playing prime had informed his coaching beliefs, Richardson said: “Training on a Tuesday and a Thursday was sort of irrelevant because for me, training was a full week.

“It wasn’t aimed at making my body better so I looked ripped in a t-shirt, it was so I could be better than the players I played against.

“When I went out on the pitch on the Saturday, in my head I had worked harder than anyone and was fitter than anyone, and my limited ability would be overcome by my effort and determination to win.

“I just wanted to stop other people winning my battle."

Discussing the season ahead, Richardson added: “I would like to play a part in, hopefully, getting us straight back up.

"Don’t get me wrong, I’m under no illusions. You have got Weymouth and Salisbury and some big spenders in there – it’s going to be really difficult. But I wouldn’t join if I didn’t think we would be winners.

"Teams have celebrated seasons where they haven’t won anything. When we got beaten by Corby a few years ago, there was no celebration about doing really well in the league, it was just misery.

“It hurts Tom when he doesn’t win any game. He is a winner and the players want to win. Hopefully, they are hurting and want to put things right."