Newport defender James Clarke expressed his delight at being back to fitness after two months on the sidelines.
Defender James Clarke suffered a setback after he picked up a groin injury during the Exiles’ clash with Bradford back in September. The injury news came as an unexpected shock to both the team and to Clarke: “It was a complete shock,” he began. “I was feeling pretty good during the game and then felt it go, so yes it was a huge shock,”
As with any injury, the recovery phase can often be a daunting and exhausting period, although in Clarke’s case his teammates helped him back to fitness during his time off the field: “It’s nice to get through it, the lads helped, they got around me, supported me, so credit to them [teammates] for getting me through the final stages.”
Since returning from injury Clarke has featured in the last four Newport games, firstly coming on as a substitute against Bristol Rovers and Mansfield Town and more recently playing a full 90 minutes against both Stockport and Morecambe, in both of which, the Exiles took all three points. The intensity of playing Saturday and Tuesday has helped the defender back to fitness although naturally will take a toll on his body: “I could’ve done with it being Saturday to Saturday, rather than Saturday to Tuesday," he laughed.
“It’s been nice to get through both games, although it’s been a little ‘backs to the wall’ at some points, the lads helped each other through it once again, so we’re all just pleased to take the positive results,”
Newport’s recent wins halted Stockport’s 12-game winning run and ended Morecambe’s unbeaten home record at the Mazuma stadium, defying the odds that were often stacked against them: “The performances haven’t been disastrous at all, far from it,” he confirmed.
“If you are playing bad and losing, you'll struggle to take many positives from it, but if you are putting in the performances and not taking results then there is positives there.
“Back-to-back wins helps build the confidence of the lads, lift the mood in the dressing room and make it a nice environment as we prepare for our next test.”
With more Exiles returning from injury in recent weeks Newport look to continue turning the performances into points come Saturday/Tuesday and Clarke thinks the returning players are key for the plan to come to fruition: “It’s always nice for the Gaffer to have numbers so that he has options to pick from as well as competition for places.
“We haven’t been able to fill the bench at some points in the season, so obviously it’s good to see that we have bodies coming back and joining the squad to hopefully help us progress further.”
You can watch James in action this coming Saturday as Newport host Barnet in round two of the Emirates FA Cup at Rodney Parade. Secure your tickets for the clash HERE.