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First Team News

Hard Work Paying Off For Clarke

9 December 2017

Tom Clarke feels the hard work put in to his return to action is slowly paying off after scoring the opening goal in the 2-1 win over Burton Albion.

The skipper played for 80 minutes at the Pirelli Stadium after completing 45 minutes against QPR last week, and Clarke was delighted to see North End leave with all three points.

Speaking to iFollow PNE after the final whistle, the captain said: "Initially it was just to be out there and the gaffer reading the team out and being in it was a great feeling and it's great to get the three points and the win.

"To be out there was brilliant, to get that goal as well it feels like all of the hard work is slowly paying off.

"I had a long period out with the injury and looking over at the physio he was buzzing and I was just buzzing to be out there and scoring the goal just crowned it off for me. There's still a long way to go but I'm getting there.

Clarke featured at right back against the Brewers, and admitted he was happy to play anywhere as long as he was on the pitch: "It was a different position, one I have played a couple of times before and the gaffer asked if I was able to play there.

"I would play anywhere just to be out there to be honest just to be back on the pitch and get the big three points that we needed.

"I thought first half it was a difficult game, at times we probably needed to get it down more and play to our strengths but it's difficult sometimes. You come to a team that are going to grind it out and make it difficult and I thought they did that first half, we slowly got into it and we knew that if we got that goal that it would open up and they would have to come out more and the gaps would come.

"That's what our players, with the pace they've got, can exploit and we did that and I thought we grew into the game really well."

North End's goals came after a double change by Alex Neil with Josh Harrop and Daryl Horgan making an impact from the bench, the latter scoring the decisive second, and Clarke was pleased to see the pair show what they can do.

"It's a squad game, we've got some brilliant players on the bench who are missing out and they've come on and shown what they can do and we are going to need that throughout the season.

"I'm pleased for them that they could do that and it just shows what a strong squad we've got.

"We are a hardworking team, players put in the hours after training and it's good to see that they've come on and done that. They've worked hard and that is what we are going to need throughout the course of the season, we will need the squad and everyone has got to be ready."

Watch the full video with Tom Clarke on iFollow PNE now.

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