Defender Tom Clarke spoke to the media ahead of Fleetwood Town’s Sky Bet League One clash against Shrewsbury Town on Boxing Day.
Clarke, who now has two goals for the season after finding the back of the net against Gillingham, has been at the heart of the defence that has kept two clean sheets in the last three games.
Here’s what Tom had to say in his interview:
On teaching the younger players…
“The younger lads keep reminding me of my age every day. It’s nice that we’ve got a talented group, filled with exciting young players, who are wanting to learn and listen. This is a role that I’ve taken on since my latter days at Preston, and I feel it’s my role here as well – it’s a great group to do it with.
“It’s something I noticed when I first arrived at the club. Obviously, the facilities are great, but I noticed all the young lads joining in during pre-season and in those early games, so I said to the other lads, what a great group coming through.
“It’s just showed now with that little bit of belief, and with the new Head Coach, it’s coming through in the games now as they are coming in with that no-fear attitude and it’s great to see they aren’t afraid to express themselves. I love to see the younger players make their debuts and fulfill their dreams after working hard, it’s brilliant.”
On Town’s recent form…
“You look at the fixtures every week and they are always key. Shrewsbury are in and around us and have picked up a few good results. We know it’s going to be a tough game but we know we can go into it with confidence so we will be looking to build on what we’ve done previously and keep putting those demands on each other and get the best out of each other.
“Even in the game against Morecambe, I thought we were the better team as it’s a tough place to go, playing against a team that are very direct, and our young group dealt with that well and had the better chances. You end up looking at it as a missed opportunity as we were gutted when we came back into the changing rooms as we didn’t capitalise on the play that we had – that shows where we are.
“There’s been a big change and I’ve always said that the confidence was there throughout the group, we knew we had a good lot, and the results would come. It was just about staying strong, as positive as we could, and keeping the standards up as results will follow that. We’ve picked up a little bit, we need to keep kicking on and I think we’ve got a good group to do that.”
On how Covid has affected the footballing world…
“The club have been fantastic in dealing with it all, you feel very comfortable when you’re in, so it’s been managed very well and that gives you the confidence to concentrate on the training, knowing everything around the training ground is done for you. It’s good knowing you can go home feeling safe.
“The training ground is probably one of the safest places to be, it’s maybe at home when the lads are going to the shops that they’re most at risk, but the club can’t control that. The lads have got to be wary of that, wear their masks, wash their hands, and make sure they are available for the games.
“It’s an amazing distraction being out on the pitch, especially with the fans being there as well, it’s what we all want and hopefully we can keep doing that. There’s so much up in the air at the minute with the different variants going around quickly so we just have to keep monitoring it and keep focusing on what we can control.”