LEE CLARK has promised to carry on attacking as Town aim to pressure the League I leaders during the rest of this season.
With three wins on the bounce heading into today’s lunchtime clash with Wycombe at the Galpharm, Town are already among the leading scorers in the division.
And Clark – who has forged a close relationship with his squad – has no intention of altering a philosophy which has underpinned his career as player, coach and manager.
“Some of our attacking play is of the highest order at the moment and, when I said it would grace any level, I meant it,” said Clark, who was a teammate of Alan Shearer, Andy Cole and Michael Owen among other during his top-flight playing days.
“That’s the way I want my teams to play.
“I’ve been here almost a year and, while I inherited some of the players, I’ve also brought a good number of the lads to the club and they are all good footballers.
“It’s important to me that we play in that style and that it’s enjoyable for everyone – quick passing and creating goalscoring opportunities.
“I don’t think my lads would enjoy playing any other way.
“I’m not in the business of having a go at managers who don’t prefer to play that way and maybe put the priority on the defensive side more, but I was brought up playing the game differently to that and, now that I’m a manager, I’m certainly not going to change.”
Clark personally watches as many matches as he can and also keeps note of Premiership, European and international football on TV.
“I watch all the big boys because you are always learning and trying to improve,” he explained.
“If you watch Arsenal at this moment in time, for instance, I don’t think you can help but be in awe of how they play and what they produce.
“They play some unbelievable football and you look forward to putting on the TV to watch them when they are the main match.”
Clark has expanded Town’s scouting operation and hopes the cub can land further signings like the one he made from Gateshead, Lee Novak.
Town are already being linked with York City’s prolific striker Richard Brodie, who has bagged 17 goals so far, but the manager admits he keeps a close eye on all levels of the game.
“I wanted squad strength when I came to the club and I’m very pleased with what we’ve got, but you can never stop trying to improve – that’s why the recruitment operation never rests,” explained Clark, who may well take another look at French wing trialist Anthony Moure-Komenen in January (when there are more Reserve games).
“We watch a whole spectrum of games, because there are gems out there, people in the non-league who can step up and play at league level just like Lee Novak has done.
“That’s why I try to go to as many games as I possibly can and my staff do as well, so that we can ‘out’ these gems, strengthen our squad and continue our development as a club.
“We constantly scour all levels of the game.
“The worst thing for me would be to miss out on somebody because we hadn’t seen him or hadn’t heard about him.
“If we miss out on someone because they choose to go to another club, then I can handle that, but it would be a big blow to miss out on someone we’ve not scouted – which is why we keep on expanding our scouting operation.”
Clark is also keen to get the whole club personnel training in one complex, so he can keep a close eye on the players coming through the academy.
And he has confirmed he will continue to use the totesport.com League fixtures for the Reserves as an extension of the academy system.
“Leaving players out of the side and out of the 18 – lads who have done good jobs for me in the past – is the one part of the job I most dislike,” he explained.
“You are talking about people being on the bench or even not being involved at all – like in the last couple of games for Joe Skarz and Jim Goodwin.
“Jim is an excellent professional of vast experience and, last season, of course, I loaned Joe out to Hartlepool.
“That type of thing – like with Simon Eastwood at Bradford at the moment – is far better for us and for the player, because they are getting the necessary football to ensure they are ready for us should they be needed.
“It’s not about not wanting them, far from it, it’s just about the best way to develop, and that has to be by playing first-team football rather than reserve football.”