A FOOTBALLER’S homework often consists of learning set piece routines, but for Justin Richards it is a little more strenuous.

The on-loan striker is into the final year of a sports, media and broadcasting degree at Staffordshire University.

He said: “It’s something else to keep your mind ticking over and hopefully there will be opportunities at the end of it, who knows, but I feel it’s something worth doing.

“I started studying when I was younger but I didn’t maintain it because the degree was a bit much for where I was at the time.

“The first opportunity I got to start again, I did.”

It is a means to an end for the 32-year-old, who does not have a post-playing career in mind.

He said: “I go in once a month and we log on and go through our tasks.

“Because a lot of it is work placements, you do your articles alongside those.

“I’m not hoping for anything, I’m just doing it and see what can come out of it at the end.”

Players nearing the end of their careers can fear retirement if they have no other skills.

Richards, whose contract at Burton Albion expires at the end of the season, is enjoying the challenge and would encourage others to look into gaining extra qualifications.

He said: “Further education isn’t for everybody, but it’s certainly worth doing if it suits you.

“It can’t hurt, especially as the PFA subsidise you as well, so it’s an opportunity worth taking.”