Ryan relishes battle for starting berth

Worksop Town FC v Matlock Town.  Picture Ryan Clarke  (w120331-9b)
Worksop Town FC v Matlock Town. Picture Ryan Clarke (w120331-9b)

RYAN Clarke is relishing the competition for places across the Worksop Town back four.

The 28-year-old can play at right-back or centre-half and has impressed in pre-season both on the training ground and in friendly fixtures.

Former Worcester City skipper Clarke isn’t concerned about having to fight for a starting berth.

He told the Guardian: “I’ve played in teams before where lads got complacent and even when they had a bad game there was no one to come in and take their place.”

“The competition is a good thing. We’ve got a lot of good, experienced players across the back four and if we don’t perform someone is on the sideline waiting to come in.”

“It keeps you on your toes.”

A qualified accountant, Clarke can count on Conference North experience with Worcester and Boston United and as a veteran has been through more pre-season training sessions than he cares to remember.

He conceded: “It’s never easy, I think when you see the manager setting out the 300m runs everyone feels a bit queasy but once you’ve done it it’s a good feeling.”

“The training has been very tough, but good in terms of getting a base fitness level for the start of the season.”

“We’ve had quite a lot of games in a close space of time, I think I played 60 minutes, 90 and 90 against Retford, Parramore and Lincoln and that has helped me, it’s good to mix games with training ground sessions.”

With the summer’s hard work almost over and the Evo-Stik Premier season looming, Clarke is optimistic about Worksop Town’s chances.

Giving his thoughts on the squad Simon Clark has put together he said: “The gaffer has brought in quite a bit of quality over the close season.”

“Stevie Towers, Leon Mettam and Paul Bastock have come from a higher standard of football and that experience will really help us when the season starts.”