FC Halifax Town: Defender Clarke to apply for job as Shaymen manager

Nathan Clarke
Nathan Clarke

Halifax-born Nathan Clarke will be applying for the Town manager's job and says he wants to help the club move forward.

The defender was in caretaker-charge of the club's 1-1 draw at Doncaster Rovers' training ground on Tuesday, along with head of youth development Steve Nichol, and also played in the match.

But the 35-year-old has put his case forward for why he should be given the job to replace Jamie Fullarton, who left the club on Monday after 17 months in charge.

Clarke said: "I will be applying, yes. It's something that I've certainly thought about.

"I spoke to the chairman in the summer regarding that. I'm a Halifax lad, I want to see the club do well, and I see myself helping the club move forward.

"I've got a good connection with Steve, who's got a fantastic knowledge of the league, fantastic knowledge of the youth team.

"That's something that's been untapped recently. It's something that was massive when I was in the youth team, to be able to come up and play with the first-team and be part of that.

"It's something that I'd like to introduce, and having Steve there, it's a great door for somebody to hopefully walk in, and hopefully unearth a bit of a gem that the coaches in the younger age groups have nurtured.

"I've spoken to the chairman after the game, made sure my name's nice and fresh.

"I just want the best for the club, the best for the players. I know how hard they worked during this pre-season, and I don't that to just suddenly stop because there isn't a man at the top.

"The players have reacted well today, they seem to have bought into what myself, Steve and Joe have said.

"I think it'd be a great team. Joe is new to the role but he's very experienced in what he does.

"Speaking with Sam (Johnson) and Will (Appleyard) they enjoy working with him day-to-day, which is a positive, because diving around on the grass can't be fun. But Joe makes it fun for them, gets the work into them, and I think Sam's come on fantastically well under him.

"Its something where I think a team like us could work, it's whether the chairman feels we're the right guys to do that.

"If so, then fantastic, and it's something that I'd work really hard to unite the fans and the team and the community.

"Being from Halifax, you know how much the club means to people."

Halifax are due to review their applications for the job on Wednesday before drawing up a shortlist of candidates, although former Rotherham boss Ronnie Moore is also applying for the position and ex-Hartlepool manager Craig Harrison has been linked to the job.

When asked what he would bring to the job, Clarke said: "I'd like to think I'd just be myself. I think I'm a genuine guy, I work hard and every game I ask the players to work hard as well.

"That's certainly what I want, I think it's what the fans want, and I think that link back up with the community and the youth team is massive for Halifax.

"I really do hope the chairman has a good long think because I can imagine there'll be mountains and mountains of managers applying for it.

"I'm young, I'm fresh, I've not got loads of managerial experience but what I have got is a lot of games under my belt, I've got a lot of contacts, local contacts at clubs, the likes of Huddersfield and Bradford, so contact-wise I feel as if I've got that as well.

"It's something that I've certainly thought about, it's an exciting opportunity if it comes off. If not, I'm here and I'll do what I did last season, I'll try my best for the club and perform as well as I can."

Clarke admits the squad needs more new faces but that any new manager would be starting from a strong position.

"I think there's certainly a foundation," he said. "I think we're light on numbers.

"We've had a couple of lads come in from the youth team, and I think they performed very well.

"We've had a couple of lads on trial who I thought were outstanding.

"It's not easy coming into a team and having the spotlight on you in these games.

"We're light on numbers, which is no massive surprise. But I think structure-wise, and the base and the foundation that the previous manager has left, it is really good.

"So it's a case of building on that and looking forward to what should be a positive season."

Clarke and Nichol, will continue to take charge of first-team affairs heading into Saturday's friendly at Darlington, although Nichol is away for the game.

And the defender admits Town's pre-season so far has been badly disrupted.

"It's not ideal, and we obviously hold our hands up," he said. "It's not been ideal.

"But what I can say is that everybody's trying to make the best of the situation.

"The situation is that me and Steve have been asked to take it, it's a positive move from the chairman and I want it to be a positive move for the fans.

"I know they've missed this game, we obviously had to cancel one, but they came and supported us at Farsley, and spoke to plenty of players afterwards.

"That's something that I want to bring into the club, get that interaction with the fans and the community.

"Being from Halifax, you always remembered that as a lad, going to The Shay and feeling part of that experience."

When asked whether he would retire from playing if he got the manager's job, Clarke said: "It's something that I'd need to have a proper think about. It's a difficult one, I think both roles are a full-time job.

"I was saying to Browny that today is probably the first time I've probably not thought about playing in the build-up to a game.

"It was more about making sure everyone was organised, making sure their positions were right, the minutes the players needed in their legs was right.

"It was a bit of a strange one - making sure there's enough drinks and food for the lads, there's a lot to think about.

"It's something I'll have to consider. I came here to help the club push forward and I still want to do that.

"I re-signed in the summer to be able to do that again. If I'm playing I will always give 100 per cent, and if I'm on the side I will be giving 100 per cent.

"That's something that will never change, that's who I am. I just want the best for the club, and I see the best in the lads, who are working hard.

"There's some very, very good players here, the likes of Kingy (Cameron King), the likes of Tobi (Sho-Silva), he looks a constant threat, Jack (Earing), another good signing.

"So it's about the feel-good factor isn't it, people enjoying coming into work, and enjoying playing.

"And I want to make sure people are happy doing that."

On the departure of former boss Jamie Fullarton, Clarke said: "Obviously it's a shock. Unfortunately I've been there where managers have lost their job for whatever reason - resigned, left or got sacked. It's never a nice feeling.

"But we've got to not stop what good work we've done in pre-season. We've worked really hard and I've been asked to continue that good work, and I thought that showed today, I thought we were brilliant, against a very, very good Doncaster side.

"So it's positive. you've got to move forward, things like this happen in football. It is what football's all about, and it's how you react.

"Hopefully myself, Steve, Joe and Jacko (Alan Jackson, kit man), I think we've reacted well. We've picked up hopefully where the manager has left off and introduced one or two new things, new ideas, and we just move forward and get this team ready for what's going to be a long, tough season."