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A FIRE alarm might have forced Lee Clark to beat a hasty retreat from the International Stadium.

But Town’s manager has plenty of time for Gateshead and was delighted with the work-out they provided for his side.

“We knew they’d give us a test – that’s why we took the fixture,” said the former Newcastle player who would love to see League football played on both sides of the Tyne.

“Gateshead are improving year on year, and I hope they can take that one step further and get themselves into the Football League.

“This club is moving forward and it was a good work-out for us. We were a little bit rusty, which is only to be expected, and perhaps a little bit fatigued after a tough week on the training ground.

“The lads have been right at it since coming back the Friday before last, and with some of my players feeling a bit of muscle stiffness, I didn’t want to take any needless risks.

“That’s why Greg Pearson was taken off as soon as he felt a twinge in his leg. He could have tried it for another five minutes but at this stage, there’s no need.”

New boy Calum Woods, Gary Roberts, Joey Gudjonsson, Scott Arfield, Danny Cadamarteri, Jack Hunt and Liam Ridehalgh were all left out.

But Clark handed trials to Conor Sellars, the teenage son of former Town midfielder Scott who was previously at Middlesbrough, and ex-Newcastle junior Kris Thackray, who took over from Pearson at left-back in the 10th minute.

“They are both lads who have been recommended to me, and I’m taking the opportunity to have a look at them,” added Clark.

“We’ve got lots of games coming up, and if they want to stay, they’ll get the chance to show what they’re about.”