FC Halifax Town defender Nathan Clarke is looking forward to his second season with his hometown Club as he prepares along with the rest of the squad for the 2019/20 Vanarama National League season.
Clarke was ever-present last season playing every minute of the league season which delighted the former Huddersfield Town man.
He told the official website, “I was really pleased with it being my first season in the National League, to play that many games was fantastic for me personally. At the start of pre-season, it’s not something you think will happen. However, I am glad I did and hopefully I contributed to the season”.
He continued, “I was delighted to return to my hometown Club, coming down to the Shay with my Dad as a kid and my school mates. It brought back a lot of memories and the ground has certainly changed in that time; it was a big factor in me signing being a Halifax lad. I was scouted at the Shay as a 9-year-old for Huddersfield Town, so that also brought back a lot of good memories obviously”.
Last season, Town boasted one of the best defences in the league and Nathan Clarke was quick to highlight the players around him including his centre back team-mate and Captain Matty Brown and Goalkeeper Sam Johnson who both signed new deals this summer.
“Matty Brown is a strong leader and a great character; he can go from strength to strength with his performances. He has come back to training really fit and he is looking forward to an even better season. He is everything you would want in a Captain.”
Sam Johnson is a fantastic imposing Goalkeeper; he had a great season which resulted in him picking up the player of the season award which he thoroughly deserved. It was a massive boost for the Club with him signing a two year deal this summer.
One of his former Clubs Leyton Orient won the league last season, were unfortunately rocked by the news that manager Justin Edinburgh passed away after the season concluded.
“We went down to Orient last season and in the home game, we were the better team at times. We were unlucky not to win both games really, it was good to go back, seeing some familiar faces and I did have a great time down there. As I said at the time, I was grateful for the applause I got at the end from the fans.
“However, the news about Justin Edinburgh was awful. It took everyone by surprise, and something no one was prepared for. They were gearing up for a difficult season and it’s just made that preparation even harder.”
Clarke’s highlight of the season though was the opening day away at Braintree Town scoring in a 2—0 win to get Town off to a winning start, he also picked out the win at local neighbours Harrogate Town at their place scoring a late winner and it gave the defender his most goals in a season in his career to date!!
“It’s the most goals I have scored in a season and was a boost for me and I will be trying to beat it again this season.”
During close season, Clarke has been able to spend time with his wife and 2 children enjoying a holiday and being a Dad,
He told us, “I have been at home, trying to chill out, I have managed to get to school events and being an average Dad. It’s been great to be involved with the kids with their school stuff but I have also tried my best to tick along with my fitness.”
“This is my 20th pre-season, I know what shape I need to come back in, eat the right things. Playing every game was a big shock to the season and it was about rest”, he continued.
One player we didn’t see on the pitch last season was Josh MacDonald, but he is back in training which Clarke was delighted to have seen.
“It’s been fantastic to see Josh MacDonald back in training, he looks fit and strong which is a massive plus for us”
Town have announced three new signings this week and all have started training with the squad.
“New signing Tobi Sho-Silva joined in training on Monday, he looks a big strong lad, knows a couple of the lads which always helps to settle in. Looked physical and fit, he’s excited to be a part of it with a big smile on his face as he joined in with the warmup. “
Jamie Allen joined us on Monday too, looked sharp and what the lads are telling me he’s an exciting player who can play wide or up top with bags of pace, hopefully on our pitch, he will be a challenge for the defenders.
Sam Johnson has had a lot of positive things to say about Will Appleyard, he’s only young but he has a great lad to look up to in Sam”.
This summer, the Club reduced season ticket prices to just £199.00 for adults and that’s something that Nathan Clarke thinks no fan should miss out on.
“It’s massive what the Club has done with season tickets this season and great credit to the Chairman for doing so. The club has reduced the prices to get the fans in, as players we want the biggest crowds we can. We need to put performances in but it’s a real boost for the Club if the fans can really support us. Hopefully it will bring in a new wave of Halifax Town fans and get behind us this season.”
In terms of expectations for the new season, Clarke is hoping to start the season well
“We are expecting to push on, we finished the season well. We still have a core of the squad from last season who were involved, with a few more additions; there is a good feeling within the group. We are all winners and we want to do well; we hopefully we’ll do something special with this tight knit squad.”
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