NATHAN CLARKE was heralded a key signing for future success as he prepared to complete a new Town contract today.
The 21-year-old centre-back has agreed terms until 2007 and will put pen to paper before Town head off tomorrow for a training camp before the clash with Colchester.
Manager Peter Jackson confirmed some `big clubs' have been monitoring Clarke's progress this season but that the classy sweeper is committed to taking his boyhood favourites further up the Coca-Cola League ladder.
"Nathan is rated very highly in football and it's fantastic that he's agreed to sign for this season and two more," said Jackson today.
"I have been very pleased with Nathan's form of late and he's delighted to sign because he believes we are going in the right direction towards more success.
"He is a big piece in the jigsaw we are putting together here and he's another young player we have secured on a longer-term contract.
"That's down to the backing of Ken Davy and a lot of help from Andrew Watson, and we hope the ambitions of Nathan and the club can go hand in hand."
Academy product Clarke has started 15 times this season after missing out on the play-off final last term through injury.
And Jackson added: "He has worked very hard on his fitness and his game overall. Hopefully the injuries are now behind him and he can play an extended part in what we are trying to achieve.
"He is a quality young player and it's no surprise that some big clubs have been watching our games, but Nathan is committed to helping the club where he's grown up gain further successes and that's great."
Wing-back Andy Holdsworth is under intensive treatment to an ankle injury suffered on a training run. Lee Fowler (groin) and John McCombe (back) are also being observed, while Andy Booth is rated only 50-50 for Saturday's game.
* Town Juniors' FA Youth Cup second round clash with Boston will take place at York Street next Tuesday, November 23 (7.00).