Hoop Clarke is in line to become saint
Teen star attracting major attention
As Southampton prepare to up their interest in Shamrock Rovers man Trevor Clarke, Hoops manager Sephen Bradley admits that speculation about the talented teenager is inevitable.
Former Middlesbrough player Clarke (19) capped off a fine display in Friday's 2-0 win over Bohemians with a stunning goal, the first time he made the scoresheet in two years.
A number of cross-channel clubs have been tracking the U19 international, with Southampton reportedly considering a summer bid.
"Good players will get attention and Trevor is one of them," says Rovers manager Bradley. "I know there are clubs looking at him. It's great for him because that means he's playing well."
Clarke spent time with Middlesbrough before returning home to Dublin. "I would like to go back to England at some stage. But I'm not focusing on that now, my main focus is Rovers and finishing as high as we can in the league," he says.
Former St Kevin's Boys player Clarke has played much of his football at left back for Rovers but Friday's clash with Bohs saw him moved on to the right wing and he delivered.
"If you play him left-back, he's the best on the pitch. If you play him on left wing, like last week, he's one of the best. And if you play him on the right, he comes up with that goal. He's just one of those players you can play anywhere. He just has ability," added Bradley.
While Rovers are moving up the table, having won back-to-back league matches for the first time since August, Bohs have slipped into the relegation zone, on the back of a run of six defeats in seven.
Scoring goals is a problem as Keith Long's side have got just one in the last seven games.
With still no date set for the return of Ismahil Akinade following surgery on his spleen, and no budget available to add to his squad, Long can only hope that the poor run ends as Bohs prepare for vital games against Bray and Limerick, and then fellow strugglers Galway and Drogheda, before the mid-season break.
"We're shooting blanks at the moment," says Long, aware that Friday's meeting with his former club, Bray, is crucial as the Gypsies try to escape the bottom three.
"There's no doubt it takes its toll but the boys are positive. It was always going to be very tough for us this year. Three points are huge and we've got to try grind them out now. Certainly in Bray, we have to get something from the game and try to arrest the slide."