LEE CLARK admits he’s had the “occasional conversation” with Jordan Rhodes during the build-up to tomorrow’s big League I Galpharm clash with Brentford!
Town’s star teenage striker scored seven goals in 14 games while on loan from Ipswich to help the Bees win promotion from League II last season.
And his manager has been quick to pick the 19-year-old’s brains as he bids to stretch his side’s 100% home start to five games in all competitions.
That would equal the club record, achieved in both 1961-62 and 1965-66, although in league games only, Mick Buxton’s boys of 1979-80 won the first six.
Current boss Clark is only concerned with this campaign, and is desperate his third-place side collect another three points to keep pace with joint leaders Charlton and Leeds.
“Virtually every successful side has a solid home record,” said Clark, whose team have so far toppled Stockport (Carling Cup), Southampton, Brighton and Yeovil at the Galpharm.
“Winning home games puts down a marker and makes your ground a more difficult place to come to, and I’ve been pleased with our displays so far.
“After producing some great football to beat Southampton (3-1) and Brighton (7-1), we had to dig in a bit against Yeovil (2-1).
“That could well be the case again tomorrow, because Andy Scott has built a very decent side who can play a bit.
“They’ve made a very solid start after coming up and last week’s (2-0) defeat at Charlton was their first in the league this season.”
Brentford are eighth with nine points from six games, four fewer than Town, as they go into their third successive away game eager to avoid a third straight loss.
Last Saturday’s setback at The Valley was preceded by a 1-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first-round defeat at League I rivals Norwich.
Clark’s men won 2-1 at Rotherham in the JPT and 3-2 at MK Dons in League I last time out, but will be taking nothing for granted against the Londoners, who last visited in February 2007, winning 2-0.
“We’ve done our homework thoroughly and it’s going to be tough,” continued Clark, whose team are still seeking their first clean sheet this time.
“It’s crucial that we’re switched on from the outset. We conceded early against Yeovil and managed to get away with it, but we can’t keep doing that.”
Other than long-term absentee Tom Clarke, the manager has no injury worries, with midfielder James Berrett not figuring for the Republic of Ireland Under 21s in Wednesday’s 1-1 European Championship qualifying draw with Estonia in Tallinn.
Strikers Robbie Simpson and Lee Novak provided reminders of their penalty-area prowess by notching for the reserves in the 4-1 totesport.com League East Division win at Lincoln.
Robbie Williams and Lionel Ainsworth also scored, and Clark said: “There could have been more goals and it was a good, professional performance.
“The lads did exactly what I wanted – produce bright displays to make my team selection for tomorrow a tough one to decide on.”
County Durham whistler David Webb will be in charge tomorrow.
Leeds are in action at Southend tonight.