Matthew Clarke programme article

Posted : 19th September 2015

Matthew is fighting fit for new season - by Roy McGivern

Linfield full back Matthew Clarke has made a flying start to the new season and has been one of the success stories in the club's encouraging start.

The 21 year old from Castlederg signed for the Blues from Glasgow Rangers in May 2013 and agreed a two year extension to his contract in May this year.

"I have really enjoyed the season so far and came back to pre season in really good shape. I worked hard over the summer in the gym and out running and have seen the benefits of using a personal trainer. I think I came back a lot fitter and stronger this year and that is shown in the games."

Clarke has been influential in Linfield's excellent start to the new season but, along with his colleagues, was devastated at the 3-0 defeat to champions Crusaders at Seaview last week.

"We were all gutted by the result and we just didn't perform on the day. They looked a hungrier team and we just didn't stand up to the challenge. The manner of the defeat was very disappointing and I thought we gave away three very soft goals. We have to put that result behind us now and get back to winning ways as soon as possible. We are still top of the league despite the defeat and it has been a very positive start to the season."

One of Clarke's main attributes is his skill from set pieces and his ability to get forward into the opposition box. His goal at Coleraine earlier in the season was a vital one for the club but is also had great personal significance for the young defender.

"That goal at Coleraine did mean a lot to me. My granny died on the Thursday before the game and she was buried on the Saturday. My father advised me to play in the game as that was what my granny would have wanted so to score the goal was special for me."

Clarke is determined to play his part in keeping Linfield ahead in the league title race and in helping the club to silverware this season.

"It is important that we get full points against Warrenpoint Town and put the Crusaders result firmly behind us. We want to maintain our positive early season form and there are a lot of big games coming up over the next few months. I know that we are capable of beating any team in this league, especially at Windsor Park, and we have to prove that now in the months ahead. There is a great togetherness in the squad this season and the lads are all working really hard for each other. We have been playing with a great deal of confidence and I really think that we can be successful this season."
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