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First Team News

Skipper Happy To Seize Opportunity

23 February 2019

North End captain Tom Clarke was delighted that his return to the side marked a goal, another comprehensive performance and victory on the road this afternoon.

Clarke has had to bide his time to get back into the side - a reflection of the form North End are currently enjoying - but after Darnell Fisher failed a late fitness test, it paved the way for Clarke to get back into the team at right back. 

“I’ve had to be patient because the lads have been tremendous” said Clarke on the back of today's 3-1 win.

 “It’s been difficult to get back in but it’s been a pleasure to see how well we’ve done and picked up those results. I’ve just been patient, bided my time and Darnell picked up a knock, got my chance and I’m thankful to have been given the chance and I’m just glad we got the win. 

“We’ve got some bodies back now and we're a good group; it’s one of those where whoever comes in and does a good job they stay in the team because everybody wants that same goal; to be pushing up that league and keep believing we can do that.

“The last four games the lads have been superb, the way they’ve played and their attacking threat and we’ve done well to keep them clean sheets and get them results. It was always going to be a difficult game today, I’m just glad we’ve got the three points for the travelling fans.”

North End went ahead as early as the third minute through Andrew Hughes before Clarke grabbed his first goal of the season 14 minutes later.

Sean Maguire made it three before the half hour, and although Millwall got one back in the second half, Clarke and Co saw it through to extend the unbeaten run to eight games. 

"It was a battle” he added. “We knew what Millwall were about but I thought in the first half we were brilliant. We kept the ball well and dominated but in the second half we had to face the long balls so you have to win that battle and I thought we did that. 

“My mask might have covered my eyes for the goal! It was one that I seen late, I lost my man, seen it bounce and got my head on it and it was powerful enough to go in the goal and I was just buzzing that it went in.

“We knew they were going to come out at half-time and be up for it and start quick and we needed to be the same. They made us defend and I thought we did that well and we’ve come away with a good win.”

Clarke also reserved praise for team-mate, Paul Gallagher following Gally’s two assists which set North End on to victory at the Den. 

“He’s gone another level" continued Clarke. "He’s always had good quality but he’s stepped it up and it was up to us to get on the end of them. We got on the end of them today and we’ve started to do that in the last few games.”

Watch Clarke’s full interview on iFollowPNE now. 

 


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