THERE’S a little bit of Huddersfield Town driving Leyton Orient this season – thanks to the leadership skills Nathan Clarke learned during 300 appearances for his first club.
The popular 28-year-old centre-back was installed as skipper of the London side within a week of being signed by boss Russell Slade this summer.
And Clarke, whose younger brother Tom remains a Town player after serving Orient on loan last season, says his namesake Peter, Kevin Gray and Kenny Irons are all big influences.
“I’m really proud to have been handed the armband,” said Clarke, who aims to lead the Eastenders to a first home win in tonight’s Sky-televised League I clash with Brentford.
“It was a huge boost when the gaffer took me to one side and said he was making me captain, especially so soon after signing.
“I did it a few times with Town, and I’m trying to use what I learned from all the people I played under, like Kev, Kenny and Pete, as well as putting my own stamp on things.”
Click on the link below for a gallery showing Nathan Clarke down the years in a Huddersfield Town shirt
Like Slade’s newly-constructed side, who ended their wait for a league victory with Saturday’s 1-0 success at Swindon, Clarke is adjusting to his new surroundings.
As Tom did during his loan stint, he’s living in one of the apartment blocks in each corner of Orient’s ground, affording a great view of the nearby Olympic Stadium.
However wife Lauren, who runs a wedding equipment firm, and two-year-old daughter Esme remain back in Huddersfield.
“It’s tough and one of the sides of life as a footballer people probably don’t think about,” added Town academy product Clarke, who has signed a two-year Orient contract.
“Lauren’s career is important, and Esme is settled at a nursery in Huddersfield, and with professional football being what it is, I didn’t want to uproot my family.
“The positive is that with modern communications being what they are, I get chance to see Lauren and Esme on a screen rather than just talk to them on the phone.