NATHAN CLARKE reckons Town will stay the League I course this season and vowed: “This is the best squad I’ve been involved with.”

Eight years on from his debut under Lou Macari, the one-club 25-year-old believes Town have the extra firepower this season which has often been missing in the past.

As he prepared to face Charlton Athletic at The Valley today, Clarke said: “This is the best squad we’ve had since I’ve been around.

“When you look at the pace we’ve got and the strength – with three or four goalscorers all on top form – it’s providing the manager with plenty of selection headaches.

“Looking back, we’ve always seemed to struggle on the goalscoring front, with maybe only one or two chipping in, but this time we’ve got four eager marksmen all wanting a shirt and plenty of contenders throughout the squad all pushing for a place.”

Leading scorer Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak and Theo Robinson contest the frontline places alongside Gary Roberts and Anthony Pilkington today as Robbie Simpson remains under treatment for a thigh injury.

While manager Lee Clark has dropped his interest in Irish trialist Mark McChrystal, he is still considering whether to make a loan move for Watford left-back Mat Sadler, who also played in the reserves against Grimsby in midweek.

James Berrett is back from Republic of Ireland Under 21 duty to rejoin the squad against Charlton, while the manager revealed Tom Clarke could be back in senior training the week after next following knee surgery.

“Tom is doing brilliantly,” said Clark. “The physio says potentially he could be back with us and training within 10 days and that’s terrific news.”