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First Team News

Clarke Looking To Kick On After Frustrating End To Season

31 May 2019

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Skipper Tom Clarke is looking to put his injury issues behind him after a frustrating second half of the 2018/19 season.

Complications after suffering a broken nose against Middlesbrough in November, along with a further injury, meant the 31-year-old missed a number of games after that draw with Boro before he played his final game of the season on 23rd February in the 3-1 win away to Millwall. A game in which he scored before picking up an injury which kept him sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.

Speaking of the frustration in the way his season ended, Clarkey told iFollow PNE: "I obviously got the injury at Millwall, after that it was a case of thinking it would be a couple of weeks but it obviously didn't turn out that way and it didn't resolve quickly which is disappointing.

"When you look back at the games that I missed, they were some key games and for me that's been the most frustrating part really.

"It's been difficult to come in and be the bubbly character that I needed to be during the tough period that it was, and still not being able to be out there and contributing on the pitch and that's what I found difficult.

"It was hard to deal with but I had to get my head down and try and get back fit and it was nice to get out there and train the last couple of days of the season. Just to be out there with the lads and get that last bit of training in was nice.

The number of injuries to key players has been well documented throughout the season, but the skipper knows the manager will be doing everything in his power to avoid a repeat next season.

"The gaffer doesn't leave any stone unturned, he's thorough in what he does, if there is something that needs looking at he will look at it and that's what he has done. Hopefully it helps and we can keep a fully fit squad next season and kick on.

On the manager, he continued:

"I think the club have done tremendous to keep him, he's a great manager, he's taken us to another level, brought in some key players and he's made us competitive in the league. It was paramount that we kept him and kept this group together.

With the players still on their summer break, the skipper knows it's not all holidays and relaxing with everyone looking to return fit and raring to go for the new campaign.

"You need to go away, keep fit and make sure you come back and start pre-season well and get in that first team." He continued.

"You can't play catch up, especially with the group we've got here. We've got a young, fit group and you need to do what Tom Little, our fitness coach, prepares for you in the off-season and do it well.

"It's a case now of recharging the batteries a little bit and come back and go again with this group, this manager and the staff and kick on for what is going to be a tough season but hopefully an enjoyable one."

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