Club News

Clarke salutes club's medical men

Boss thanks staff for giving him weekly selection headache

YOU would think the club's medical men would be curing - not causing - a Steve Clarke headache.

But that's exactly what head of medical services Mark Gillett and his staff are creating for Clarke on a weekly basis - and the head coach is thankful for it!

Clarke has praised his support team for the way in which they have managed the fitness and conditioning of his players so that he has as many selection dilemmas as possible before every match.

Two cases in point have been Ben Foster and Shane Long, who have both been able to perform in recent weeks despite carrying injury niggles.

Foster's groin problem culminated in him undergoing a minor surgical procedure last week.

And Clarke believes the fact his players are willing to play on with niggles underlines the commitment that is coursing through his squad.

“Playing through an injury is just a measure of how much the players want to play for the club, which is great," beamed Clarke.

“They put their bodies on the line and that’s part and parcel of being a professional footballer.

“Sometimes you have to play with little injuries, which they do, and we have great help from our medical staff, who play their part really well.

“We just try to get the players from game to game and get everybody in the best condition possible.

“The medical staff do all they can to make my job more difficult, in that I’ve got more options to choose from each week.

“They’ve done a great job.

"There is an injury to Shane that everyone knows about now through circumstances we couldn’t control.

“But we like to manage our squad and look after them.

"Our medical people like to do their job quietly and we try to get the players in a good place, which makes my team selection process more difficult. That's a nice problem to have."

Clarke remains enthused by Saturday's first league away win of the season at Wigan and is hoping the team can build on it with further three-point hauls on the road.

“To go anywhere in the Premier League and get a draw is good, but to go away and get a win is fantastic," he said.

“Our performances have been good away from home but that’s the first time we’ve really had the reward for those performances."