U’s want Clarke – but much depends on Huddersfield

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward says he doesn’t know whether he will be able to keep loanee Nathan Clarke at the club next season.

The 27-year-old centre-back has been one of the U’s most consistent performers since he signed on loan from League One rivals Huddersfield Town at the end of January.

The defender was born a short distance from Huddersfield, had previously been with no other club since the age of nine, while his younger brother Tom is at the Terriers.

However, completely out-of-favour with manager Lee Clark, he had no hesitation in answering Colchester manager John Ward’s call to fill the void left by Paul Reid’s sale to Scunthorpe in the January transfer window.

Clarke quickly moved his family down to Essex and has settled in well with the rest of the close-knit squad at The Weston Homes Community Stadium.

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And while his hometown club clearly means a lot to him, he has also admitted that playing regular football is imperative at this stage of his career.

Following an imperious display in the 1-0 home win over Rochdale at the weekend, U’s fans would certainly love to see Clarke back at the club next season.

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Much, however, will depend on Huddersfield who are very much in contention for promotion to the Championship.

“I can’t do anything with that yet,” said Ward, when asked if he’d made any moves to extend Clarke’s stay beyond the end-of-the-season.

“He’s got another year at Huddersfield Town and I don’t know where they’re going to be or what they’re going to do. I can’t bother Lee Clark with it at the moment because he’s got massive matters on his mind.

“I like Nathan Clarke and if it was possible then, yes, it would be something I’d look at. However that’s out of my hands at the moment and I guess I won’t be able to do anything about it until the summer or even right up until the start of next season.”

Huddersfield are currently third in League One. They are level on points with second-place Southampton but have played two more games than the Saints. They need just two wins from their final five games to seal a play-off spot.

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