"I'm just happy to be home" - Tom Clarke's captain's column

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Hello and welcome to my first weekly column for the Halifax Courier.

I'm really happy to be at my hometown club and I hope you enjoy reading my column every week.

I had a year left at Fleetwood but they brought a couple of players in and the manager said there'd been a bid for me from a League One team and a couple of League Two teams.

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The manager said 'it's up to you but I can't promise you game-time as much as last season'.

Tom Clarke. Photo: Marcus BranstonTom Clarke. Photo: Marcus Branston
Tom Clarke. Photo: Marcus Branston

I had a conversation with my brother Nathan who said he had a meeting with the manager at Halifax and what would I think about going there.

I told Nathan I wanted to get back home, I've travelled for the best part of ten years to Preston and Fleetwood.

He put it to the manager and it steamrolled from there.

I'm really happy, the stage I'm at in my career, I've got a young family, so I'm just happy to be home.

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I've got great memories from my loan here and I remember playing school cup finals at The Shay, just really fond memories.

I know Halifax really pushed for it and I'm thankful for Fleetwood for letting the move happen.

I had the conversation with the manager about the captaincy, he spoke to me about how he wanted to do it.

There's a couple of experienced players there in Sam Johnson and Jordan Keane who he wanted to get involved, and I was massively on board.

It's a massive honour for me to have the armband.

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I've been fortunate enough to pretty much captain wherever I've been so I've gained experience from that, dealing with different personalities, different lads.

I really enjoy getting younger lads under my wing and helping to bring them along, we've got some young lads here, especially in my position, so my job is to bring them on as much as I can.

They've been really good, asking questions, so it's been good.

Whether I'd have the armband or not it's a role I'd take on myself anyway and that I enjoy doing.

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It was disappointing for us at Barnet last Saturday, we started really poorly.

They started the game really quickly, their fans were up for it, they were on the front foot, they picked up a lot of second balls, which is disappointing.

We needed to take the sting out of it a bit, but they pressed us really well.

They played it in-behind and got second balls, which worked for them.

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It was disappointing we couldn't implement our style on the game or get our combination play going.

The lads were disappointed, the manager was disappointed how we played but the good thing is there's always the next game coming up, which is Torquay.

We've worked hard this week on the opposition and we'll be going into that wanting to put our style on the game, we're at home in-front of our own fans and we need to give them something to shout about.

I think I was about 19, 20 the last time I played at the Shay, Chris Wilder was the manager, so yeah, a long time ago!

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I'll have family and friends there on Saturday who've not been able to watch when I've been playing at teams a couple of hours away.

It's good that it's on their doorstep and they can come down to the game and critique me!

I'm just looking forward to the game, my kids will be there. That's what I wanted, that was my vision of signing for a club that's local and meant a lot to me, that I could play in-front of my family week-in, week-out and show them what I'm about.

I got down to a few games to watch Nathan, I watched the play-off game against Chesterfield last season.

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The lads have been really close in past seasons. There's been an influx of new players so there will be a settling in period but I'm really excited to see how the season unfolds.

It's going to be tough but enjoyable, a bit of a rollercoaster.

But promotion is definitely something we'll strive for.