PETER CLARKE expects Stevenage to prove stubborn opponents tomorrow – but is confident Huddersfield Town have what it takes to bounce back from their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy disappointment and collect a three-point haul from the clubs’ first-ever meeting.
The skipper and his teammates were stung by Tuesday’s exit at the hands of neighbours Bradford City.
Just like Stevenage at AFC Wimbledon, Town went out 4-3 on penalties to League II opposition after a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes.
Now centre-back Clarke is targeting a fourth home win of the campaign as Lee Clark’s fifth-placed side look to stretch their unbeaten League I run to 37 matches.
Stevenage, in 14th, have lost three on the spin in the league, but Clarke says the 5-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday which preceded that dip proves Graham Westley’s side can’t be taken lightly.
“They were well-drilled and energetic and they have a real togetherness,” said Clarke of the team who have won successive promotions from the Blue Square Premier and League II.
“The manager has been there a while now (Westley’s second spell at the helm began in May 2008) and they have a nucleus of players who have been there since the non-league days but have also freshened the squad up with more recent signings.
“They will give us a test, but it’s one we’re looking forward to and it gives us the chance to get over Tuesday.”
Town twice hit back after City went ahead, with Clarke claiming his first goal of the season with a well-placed volley after Tommy Miller netted from the spot.
“There were positives to take because we played some good stuff and created a lot of chances,” added Clarke.
“There were also a few things that weren’t so good, and we’ve worked on eradicating them.”
Clarke was making his second appearance since returning from a seven-match spell on the sidelines.
“It’s good to be back and it was nice to get the goal,” he said. “I’m feeling good, and after a few months of trouble with my back, it’s great to be pain free, and long may it continue.”