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Clarke Pleased With First Preston Goal

27 July 2013

Tom Clarke was delighted to score his first goal for Preston North End in the Lilywhites' 1-1 draw with Rochdale.

The defender rose highest to head a Lee Holmes cross into the opposite corner of the net and put the away side a goal up, before Scott Hogan got a second half equaliser for the hosts.

And the 25-year-old was pleased to get off the mark in a North End shirt after missing a hatful of chances prior to the breakthrough.

“Yes, it was nice to get and it was a good game to play in, a good 90 minutes, so yes I feel happy,” he said.

“It was frustrating, I had a couple of chances before and just got up a little bit early on the first one and the second one didn’t put enough on it so I got there in the end, it just looped in, it felt like it was slow motion but it got there.”

Holmes’ pinpoint, back-post cross was inch perfect for Clarke to apply the finish, and the former Huddersfield Town man was full of praise for his teammate.

“I’ve played with him [Holmes] and against him a couple of times so I know what he’s capable of and some of the balls were great so it was nice to get on the end of one and put it in,” he added.

Clarke didn’t seem out of place at the heart of the PNE defence, playing as a centre back, and the defender admits the position is not only one he is familiar with but enjoys playing in. 

“It’s something that I’ve always played when I was younger and you get the versatility thing where you can fill in and do a job there,” he continued.

“But initially, through my Huddersfield career, it was centre half and at England it was centre half so it’s a position I like and I want to get the shirt for on Saturday really.

“It’s something that I’m used to and I like to play that position so hopefully I’ve done enough.”

Reflecting on his first pre-season with North End, and the match in hand against Rochdale, Clarke was glad to have got a full game under his belt and happy that the squad hadn’t suffered any casualties ahead of the opening day of the League One campaign.

“It’s always tough, we’ve had some great games as well, it’s just about getting these last few and getting the 90 minutes before the big game on Saturday against Wolves,” he said.

“It was tough, Rochdale are a good team, a good passing team, so it was good to get the fitness in today and it was good to come away after no injuries and looking very good for Saturday.”

Competition for places in North End’s squad is clear to see with just a week until the new season starts, and Clarke thinks that can only be a good thing heading into the game against Wolves.

“It bodes you well for the season and you can kick on then, but like I say, there’s a lot of competition for places here and that’s brilliant as well,” he said.

“You’ve got players fighting for the shirts and that’s what’s good and competition for Saturday.”  

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