CAPTAIN marvel Peter Clarke admits Huddersfield Town’s play-off failure from last season is acting as “a little reminder” as they bid to win promotion to the Championship 12 months on.
Clarke was outstanding at the heart of the Town defence as Lee Clark’s men claimed a battling 1-1 draw in their semi-final first leg at Bournemouth on Saturday.
The 28-year-old, who recently penned a new contract at the Galpharm, said: “It is well poised. It was an evenly-matched game, just like the two league games between us. I thought we had the edge in the first half and we knew they would come at us in the second.
“With them being at home, we were well aware they would have a real go and try to put us under the cosh, which they did. It was nothing less than we had expected.”
Clarke, who played alongside Bournemouth manager Lee Bradbury at Southend, featured for Town when they exited the play-offs at the semi-final stage against Millwall last season.
A coincidence will see Wednesday’s second leg take place a year to the day since they went down in South London.
“Of course we were hurt by last season’s play-off campaign,” said Clarke.
“It wasn’t something we enjoyed but that is not at the forefront of our minds. It is there as a little reminder that we don’t want to feel like that again.
“This season, we did as much as we possibly could to gain one of the two automatic promotion spots and, in eight out of the past 10 years, 87 points would have been enough.
“But it wasn’t this time and we have just got to make sure we are well prepared for Wednesday so we get the result we want.
“It will be all to play for and I am sure the Galpharm will be absolutely rocking. The supporters have been fantastic throughout the season and we want to give them something to shout about.”
Town’s resolute defence was breached only by a second-half thunderbolt from Donal McDermott, while goalkeeper Ian Bennett saved a first-half penalty from Danny Ings.
Clarke added: “Benno is a top-drawer keeper. I didn’t think it should have been a penalty because the lad got his shot away and Antony Kay cleared it.
“I think they were a little fortunate but it was a fantastic save.
“Not only did he save it but he pushed it away from a danger area as well.”
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