Derek Davis' Football Chatter

ALTHOUGH Billy Clarke could not make the ceremony in Dublin recently for the presentation of Irish caps, he was well represented.Dad Charlie was accompanied by Billy's grand-uncle, Dermot Healy, who made his first-ever flight to be in the Irish capital for the FAI function, as they collected Billy's international caps awarded over five years.

ALTHOUGH Billy Clarke could not make the ceremony in Dublin recently for the presentation of Irish caps, he was well represented.

Dad Charlie was accompanied by Billy's grand-uncle, Dermot Healy, who made his first-ever flight to be in the Irish capital for the FAI function, as they collected Billy's international caps awarded over five years.

The young Blues striker now has more than 30 caps for Ireland from U-16 level up through the ranks and finally made his U-21 debut against Slovakia in the annual Madeira four-nations tournament.

Clarke could add to his international honours after being selected for the Under-21 squad to play against Holland in Venlo on March 27.


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Billy has scored 12 international goals so far since making a scoring debut against Northern Ireland at U-16 level in 2002.

A TRIO of Colchester United players will be relieved that their tardiness did not mean they were punished in the same way as the Sunderland players who missed the team bus last Friday.

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While Anthony Stokes, Marton Fulop and Toby Hysen were all left out of the Black Cats' win at Barnsley, the U's miscreants got away with a flea in their respective ears and a fine towards a post-season trip.

Kem Izzet, Jamie Cureton and Johnny Jackson were all half-an-hour late meeting the team coach on its way to Derby for a Friday night game recently, which did not make them popular with their team-mates.

Not only did the rest of the squad and staff have to sit around waiting, it also meant the coach was late arriving at Pride Park.

Whether that contributed to the sluggish start and the 5-1 hiding only they know, but it can't have helped.

Perhaps they were spared the embarrassment of being left kicking their heels because George Williams does not have the luxury of such a big squad as Roy Keane.

The team has done as well as it has this season built on a foundation of high standards, good discipline on and off the pitch and team work. If any of those standards slip so will the U's form and all the brilliant work done by Williams and Mick Harford will be undermined.

TALKING of good work done at Colchester United, I hear Phil Parkinson is among those serious contenders for the vacancy at Huddersfield Town.

Parkinson is currently Alan Pardew's assistant at Charlton Athletic, and while he is keen to resume his role in a hot seat as No. 1, he is also keen not to let anyone at The Valley down as they seek to avoid relegation.

Parkinson may want to see out the rest of the season there, even though the understanding was that he could pursue a managerial role if a suitable one came up.

LUTON manager Mike Newell has taken another swipe at Leeds counterpart Dennis Wise in their row over midfielder Kevin Nicholls.

Wise turned down Newell's bid to bring Nicholls back to Kenilworth Road on loan last week and accused the Hatters boss of “talking a load of rubbish” after he claimed Wise had already offered the former Luton midfielder to two other clubs.

Newell accused Wise of being disrespectful to Luton and urged the former Wimbledon and Chelsea midfielder to “remember where he came from”.

Newell said: “I kept very quiet last week because I didn't want to stoke the fire by reacting to his comments. I'm reacting to them now. I won't have anyone disrespect this club and talk about it as a small club in Bedfordshire.

“Dennis Wise needs to remember where he has come from. He hasn't always been employed by massive clubs.”

I HAD to laugh on Tuesday night when Preston boss Paul Simpson was asked about Steve McClaren being at the game to check on David Nugent.

Simpson explained that his star striker might not welcome a full England call-up just yet - he is looking forward to turning out in the Under-21 game with Italy which will be played at the new Wembley on March 24.

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