Doncaster Rovers 1-1 FC Halifax Town: “It was a good all-round performance”, says Clarke

Doncaster v Halifax. Nathan Clarke. Picture: Kelly Gilchrist/FC Halifax Town
Doncaster v Halifax. Nathan Clarke. Picture: Kelly Gilchrist/FC Halifax Town

Nathan Clarke has praised the response of the Town squad after The Shaymen earned a 1-1 draw in their friendly with Doncaster Rovers.

The game had to be moved from The Shay due to the pitch not being deemed suitable for the match, and was instead played at Doncaster’s Cantley Park training ground behind-closed-doors.

Niall Maher gave Town an 18th minute lead with a well-struck low shot from 25 yards before Alfie May equalised for the home side after the interval.

“I thought it was a really good work-out,” said Clarke, who told The Courier yesterday that he will be applying for the managers job. “In spells we played very well, I thought the two up top (Jamie Allen and Tobi Sho-Silva) worked well.

“I just thought it was a good all-round performance. Certainly the first-half was very good, with the changes second-half and different lads coming on, they still applied themselves very well.

“It’s what we asked, we wanted them to go and enjoy it. You can have sessions all day, it’s not as enjoyable as getting out there and playing some football, which we’re all used to.

“I’m glad we managed to get the game on and here, on a really good pitch against a very good side.”

On how he found the experience of playing and being in caretaker charge, Clarke said: “Because I’m so used to being vocal anyway and being an ex-captain, I have Browny (Matty Brown) there as captain who’s vocal, it was quite a smooth transition in managing certain areas and making sure the team manages themselves.

“I said that at the beginning. We changed the shape a bit and went with a diamond. The team felt comfortable with that, they’re all comfortable on the ball in that shape, they understand where to be in and out of possession.

“I thought it worked really well, the lads managed themselves really well and with the backing of Steve (Nichol) and Joe (Stead) on the side seeing things that possibly I couldn’t, I thought it worked really well.”

Town’s pre-season has been badly disrupted by the departure of Jamie Fullarton as manager, the cancellation of their first friendly against Frickley and being forced to switch two home games to opposition venues.

“I’m used to it,” Clarke said of the chaos. “It’s my 20th pre-season now I think so I’m used to it.

“It’s not ideal. I wanted to play at The Shay, I wanted the fans to see how we performed, see how the new lads did.

“But I’ve not had one murmur, one kicking up a fuss. Everybody’s made their own way here, without a fuss, they’ve got on with it, and I think that’s what I love about the group.

“It’s only a small group but everybody’s dug in, with no murmurs, and we’ve enjoyed going out on a nice pitch and playing against a good side.”

Clarke and Nichol are set to remain in charge for Saturday’s friendly at Darlington, although Nichol will be away for the game.

“Me and Steve have got a constant phone line and text message connection at the moment!” added Clarke.

“We’ve linked up quite well. I know Steve from last year, he’s got some good sessions, some good ideas. He knows the league very, very well.

“I think that combination will work very well.

“As regards to the timeline, we got the news of the manager leaving in the (Monday) morning, and from then it was asked by the chairman if me and Steve would oversee what is going to be a difficult week or two whilst he sieves through the mountains of applications which I’m sure there will be, because what a job to come into.

“It’s a great club, run well, got a good guy at the top, and a good squad. So someone’s walking into a really good job.

“Me and Steve put a session on on Monday and the lads responded well. It was fun, enjoyable, we got a lot of work in, we did running with our fitness coach beforehand, getting the miles into our legs.

“Again, I thought fitness-wise (against Doncaster) we were really good.”