Search

Family thoughts swept to one side for O’s skipper Clarke

19:07 09 May 2014

Nathan Clarke receives Player of the Year award from Barry Hearn. Pic: Simon O

Nathan Clarke receives Player of the Year award from Barry Hearn. Pic: Simon O'Connor.

Simon O'Connor Photography

It could be a dilemma for the Clarke family household if both Leyton Orient’s Nathan and Preston North End’s Tom reach Wembley, but for the O’s skipper it would be ‘perfect’.

Orient skipper Nathan Clarke under pressure from Rotherham's Wes Thomas. Pic: Simon O'ConnorOrient skipper Nathan Clarke under pressure from Rotherham's Wes Thomas. Pic: Simon O'Connor

Peterborough and Rotherham stand in their respective way from making it a family final though and for Nathan – an ever present in Russell Slade’s side all season – the only focus is on tomorrow’s encounter with the Posh.

“It’s going to be a tough one whoever we got in the play-offs,” said Clarke.

“You tend to look back at the games you’ve played against them, but at the end of the day the play-offs are a different animal. Teams are set up differently; the focus is fully on that one team over the two legs.”

The O’s ensured the advantage of a home second leg with a third-place finish in the regular league season.

And while tomorrow is a game they want to win, he insists they’ve got to realise the bigger picture, and make sure they’re still in the contest come the second leg at Brisbane Road on Tuesday.

“We have got to play them again at our place and it will be a full house and an exciting game to be involved in,” said Clarke.

“It will be half time after tomorrow’s game and we have got to be careful either way to not be over excited or too downhearted. There’s another game to play and if we can finish the first game strong we can look forward to the home game.”

The possibility of one brother facing the other in the final has been the talk of the family, and while it’s an occasion Nathan would relish, he doesn’t feel the parents would enjoy it too much.

“Preston have drawn Rotherham so we’ve missed each other at the moment,” he added.

“It’s been mentioned now and again. When I first signed here I knew what qualities we had in the side and I knew if we all kept fit and healthy that we would have a good chance of making the play-offs.

“And with Preston being as big as they are and having the budget and the squad that they had, it was always spoken about that we could end up meeting each other.

“It would be perfect for us, but I don’t think it would be ideal for our parents. It would be a great achievement for both of us to be involved at Wembley.

“The parents try and keep as neutral as they can. They are similar to us in as long as we get through the games they are happy.”

Clarke and the O’s fellow defenders know they will have to keep a certain Britt Assombalonga quiet tomorrow and on Tuesday.

The former Watford man has 32 goals to his name this season, but while it’s only natural to look to the 21-year-old, Clarke knows Posh have quality all the way through their team.

“You just can’t focus on Assombalonga,” he added. “They have got a fantastic squad and whoever plays for them will make it a tough test for us.

“Especially as a back line the power that they have got going forward is their strength and we have got to watch out for that and be on our game.”

Being the captain always means you are the one that’ll life the trophy aloft at Wembley if you emerge victorious.

It’s only natural that those thoughts cross your mind and it would be the perfect present for the skipper, having scooped the Player of the Year award with the O’s.

“It’s a massive adrenaline rush when you start to think about lifting it,” said Clarke.

“You think of the positives, but you have just got to get through these two games and play as well as I can and then give myself as good a chance as any to be lifting that trophy.

“It’s been a great season personally for me, to be involved in all 46 league games is a great achievement for me and to get player of the year was a nice little icing on the cake.

“But we’ll focus on these next two games and hopefully, fingers crossed; if everything goes to plan we can get to Wembley.”

Latest Newham Sports News

Yesterday, 18:30
Clapton's James Briggs celebrates after scoring a free kick (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

After finishing the league campaign in seventh, Tons will hope to end season with silverware

Essex Senior League
Yesterday, 16:30
Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler shows his frustration on the touchline (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Orient youth could feature in final home match of season while rumours suggest a former AC Milan midfielder could be the next manager at Brisbane Road

Scott Kashket
Yesterday, 15:30
Members of the women's football team present Fionnuala McCurtain, granddaughter of Thomas, with a club shirt

Goodmayes club remember Easter Rising in matches with Passage West

London
West Ham legend Tony Cottee

Our West Ham Columnist thinks Jamie Vardy should have been player of the year

Dimitri Payet

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more
Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe