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Clarke: Important Thing Was We Didn't Lose Either Game
Friday, 10th Nov 2023 16:24

Harry Clarke agrees Town were disappointed to only take a point from each of their successive away games recently but insists the mood around Portman Road remains positive going into tomorrow’s home clash with Swansea City.

Visits to Birmingham and Rotherham both ended 2-2 but Town remain in a strong league position, sitting second in the table, only three points adrift of leaders Leicester and with an eight-point gap to third-placed Leeds United.

Clarke, 22, reflected: “This league is tough, especially away from home. It was obviously disappointing to go two goals down at Birmingham but in the end it was a good point.

“In the Rotherham game they got the late goal and from our point of view it was a bad one to concede in virtually the last minute.

“It was a real kick in the teeth but the important thing is that we didn’t lose either game and we take the positives from them both and move on to Swansea tomorrow.

“In this camp we’re always going to be positive and we’re in a great spot. It’s a squad game and we’re the top scorers in the Championship and the way the manager makes full use of the substitutions shows how we work.

“Obviously, I’d love to play every game, but I know that’s probably not going to be the case.

“I’d have to be really fit, which I believe I am, but the important thing is that I’m always fit and wanting to play and if I’m not starting, I want to be on the bench ready to come on if I’m needed. In short, I always want to be available to help the team.”

Town also remain unbeaten away from home in the current campaign, an achievement in itself when you consider they are newly-promoted and playing second-tier football for the first time in five seasons following a four-year stint in League One.

Clarke added: “Up until the last two games we had a very good away record. I think we had only conceded two in six before Birmingham and it was disappointing to concede two there and then again at Rotherham.

“We know we shouldn’t score two goals away from home and not win the game, so it’s something we have addressed and worked on.

“We’re looking forward to playing at home again. Every home game is extra special because our fans have been brilliant both last season and this one.

“Every game is either a sell-out or very close to one and a lot of the time it’s the fans who get us over the line. I know every club says it but they really are our twelfth man and it’s important they know it.”

Ipswich-born and a former pupil at East Bergholt High School, Clarke was asked to recall his first goal for the club, which came in the entertaining, high-scoring home win over Blackburn Rovers in September when he opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a rocket drive from the edge of the area that flew high into the net.

Clarke remembered: “It was a special day. I was just shocked that it went in, to be honest, because I had about 45 shots last season – something stupid like that – so it was nice to finally hit the back of the net.

“It meant a lot to me but my celebration needed a bit of work. I didn’t really know what to do; I was just relieved that it had finally happened.

“It had been a dream since I was a kid to score at Portman Road and it was good that we also got a win. So, yes, very special. I remember thinking, as soon as I hit the ball, that it definitely had a chance.

“It’s right up there as one of the top five moments of my career so far. Skip [Sam Morsy] and Chappers [Conor Chaplin] both said to me ‘Just take a minute’. It was important that I calmed down and got on with the game and didn’t get too carried away in the moment.”

Clarke, who was unfortunate to also concede an own goal against Blackburn, has started eight of Town’s 15 league games this season, most recently the away draws at Birmingham and Rotherham when he replaced injured Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams, and come off the bench in another two.

He added: “Brandon has done really well since he joined us and the team has been winning, which is what we all want. I’m here to help the team, just like everyone else. The beauty of having a big, strong squad is that everybody will get an opportunity.

Take Marcus [Harness] the other day at Birmingham. He came on and scored twice to earn a very valuable point.

“Freddie [Ladapo] and Dane [Scarlett] also came on and played big parts for us and it shows the depth and quality of our squad.”

Photo: TWTD

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Linkboy13 added 18:38 - Nov 10
We seem to have struggled against the poorer teams QPR, Huddersfield, Birmingham and Rotherham.

MK1 added 20:17 - Nov 10
Every game in this league this season will be tough. Points win prizes and we have plenty of them. We are far out doing anything I thought we would, so just keep it up boys and no pressure.

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