New Glentoran boss Scotty can bring out my best: Clarke
Richard Clarke says the appointment of Scott Young as Glentoran boss will help him rediscover the form that made him one of local football’s hottest properties.
Inconsistency in his performances and, in fairness, the lack of a sustained run of starts has meant that Glens fans have yet to see the best of the former Newry City skipper since he joined the club in the summer.
However, having admitted his pain at not playing as many games as he felt he should have under previous boss Alan McDonald, Clarke goes into tomorrow evening’s crunch Setanta Sports Cup clash with Bohemians in Dublin, buoyed by his own recent form which culminated in a superb winning goal against Institute on Tuesday night.
“Things were going okay at the start of the season — I had played in Europe and in the first few league games and I was reasonably happy at that stage,” said the former Northern Ireland under 21 international.
“Then I had a poor game against Linfield (in a 2-2 draw at the Oval in August) and from then on I struggled to get back into the team.
“I thought that was a bit unfair and it hurt me that I was left out for so long. I was coming on for 10 or 15 minutes here and there and I couldn’t really make an impact on the game.
“In fairness, since Scotty has taken over he has told me that he wants me in the team and what he wants from me and it’s good to have someone like that, who I have a lot of respect for, telling me things like that.”
And the fact that Clarke is a similar player to Young what was before the 32 year old boss’s career was tragically cut short by injury, gives the midfielder the belief that the fiery Scotman can bring out the best in him. “I played against Scott so I know what he was like as a player and I suppose there are some similarities in that we have the same sort of stature and he always liked to get the ball down and play, which is what I am always wanting to do.
“When you have a coach who has played in your position it is always a big help because you can relate to each other.
“Pete (Batey) coming in — though he was much more of a tough tackler than I am ever going to be — is a big help too and although I am never going to be one for flying into tackles, I like to think of myself as being fit and if I am 100 per cent I can get from box to box.”
Amongst all the recent upheaval at the Oval, it has probably escaped many people’s notice that the Glens are still well in with a shout of qualifying for the Setanta Sports Cup semi-finals. Last year’s beaten finalists go into the game knowing they will probably need victory at Dalymount Park if they are to take their place in the last four.
Should they manage only a draw, then they will need a three-goal winning margin in the other Group Two game tomorrow between Linfield and St Pat’s at Windsor Park to progress at the expense of the Group Three runners-up.
But Clarke insists that the east Belfast men have it in their locker to pull off a shock, just like they did last year when they beat high-flying St Pat’s 1-0 at the Oval to book a date with Drogheda United.
“We have the belief that we can beat anyone on our day,” added Clarke.
“Unfortunately we haven’t shown that enough this season but we can still do it. We have an experienced team who have been through these type of games before and I really think we can beat Bohemians.”