NATHAN CLARKE says he’s “gutted” for his old mate Jon Worthington after injury ruined his planned reunion with Town.
But the centre-back is looking forward to locking horns with three other Galpharm old boys, Andy Holdsworth, Keigan Parker and Pawel Abbott, at Oldham Athletic on Sunday (2.00).
While midfielder Worthington is out until the New Year after damaging ankle ligaments, full-back Holdsworth is just back from injury.
The 25-year-old has been troubled by tendinitis in a leg for six weeks, but came off the bench during last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Brighton and played for the reserves this week.
In contrast, strikers Parker and Abbott have been regulars since moving to Boundary Park in the summer, with the latter repeating the impressive scoring form shown at Town.
Last week’s strike at Brighton was the sixth of the season for the 27-year-old, who netted 51 times for Town between joining from Bury in February 2004 and switching to Swansea in January 2007.
Scotsman Parker has bagged two goals, the same number he got for Town in 23 outings last season, when he finished the campaign on loan at Hartlepool.
Having played alongside both, Clarke will be wary of the dangers they pose as Town, who are seventh in League I, aim to follow up their 4-0 home win over Leyton Orient with a first away victory in six attempts.
“Most Town fans will remember what a good player Pav was, and while Keigan’s move didn’t really work out, I saw enough of him in training to know what a dangerous opponent he can be,” said Clarke, who hopes for a sixth successive start against the ninth-placed Latics.
“Playing against Andy will be stranger still, because we were teammates for so long, and I’m gutted for Worthy that he’ll be missing out on this one.
“He and I are the same age (26), we came through the Town academy together, and we still keep in touch and meet up for meals with our partners, so it would have been strange playing against each other.
“Worthy was a really good player for Town and a really good captain, but things change in football, and now he’s an Oldham player.
“I think he and Andy both found it hard at first, because they’d been at Town since they were kids and didn’t know anything else.
“But I know both are happy at Oldham, and neither have had to uproot themselves, which is good.
“I’m sure we’ll all have a chat, but only after the real business is over.”