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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 27 September 2020

'That’s the Trevor of old. We’re seeing that more and more'

After a long spell out injured, Stephen Bradley feels his full-back is hitting top form.

Trevor Clarke (file pic).
Trevor Clarke (file pic).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS BOSS Stephen Bradley believes Trevor Clarke is starting to show the type of form he demonstrated more regularly when he first burst on the League of Ireland scene.

The 21-year-old full-back and former Middlesbrough youth product swiftly gained a reputation as a player of great promise after joining Rovers.

However, Clarke last year suffered knee ligament damage and missed much of the 2018 season as a result.

The player’s progress since then has been gradual, but he was lively on Friday night against Cork City, frequently causing problems down the left-hand side as Rovers’ midfielders expertly picked him out with well-executed diagonal balls.

Clarke even almost scored at one point, when what appeared to be a mis-hit cross came back off Mark McNulty’s crossbar.

“He’s telling me he meant it, but we’ll beg to differ on that one,” Bradley said afterwards.

“I thought Trevor only got going in the second half. First half, he was okay. Second half, he really stepped up.

I think we were seeing glimpses of [his best form] in the second half. He was making three or four runs where he goes by a couple of them and they’re standing still. That’s the Trevor of old. We’re seeing that more and more.”

Clarke was not included in Stephen Kenny’s recent Ireland U21 squad for the Toulon Tournament, and Bradley was pleased that the youngster is able to focus on club football in the forthcoming weeks.

“Yeah, I’m happy. It allows us to look after him in terms of games and training. In Toulon, they’ll have a lot of games and they could go all the way, so we’re happy he’s here.”

Rovers had been left frustrated by Cork’s stubborn defence in the opening 45 minutes, before two early second-half goals sealed a deserved victory. Despite the slow start, Bradley was happy with the overall performance.

They had one or two opportunities, but they never really looked in any danger. It was just frustrating at half-time, we weren’t playing at our tempo and moving it quicker. I thought second half [we improved].

“First half we just fell into the trap of taking too many touches.”

Despite the victory, Rovers remained second on goal difference, after Dundalk grabbed a late winner at home to St Pat’s.

“We just have to keep winning games and see where it takes us,” Bradley added. “It looks like us two [in the title race] at the moment.”  

Gavan Casey is joined by Ryan Bailey and Andy Dunne to look ahead to Saturday’s Pro14 final, look at whether Joey Carbery’s move has paid off and Jack Conan talks about how his body is holding up.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Paul Fennessy

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