Clarke warns of old pal’s threat

Leon Clarke
Leon Clarke

NEW-BOY Leon Clarke is determined to fire the goals to drag Wigan Athletic out of the relegation mire.

And he’s aiming to get his loan spell off to the perfect start by getting the better of close pal and Bournemouth sharp-shooter Callum Wilson on Saturday.

“There are a lot of firsts for me this weekend,” he acknowledged.

“I’ve never played at the DW and it’s going to be a tough one in my first game against Bournemouth.”

Clarke joined Latics with seconds to spare before Monday’s transfer deadline, penning a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Latics are the 29-year-old’s 15th different club, with the time he spent alongside Wilson at Coventry last season by far the most productive of his career.

“I obviously know Callum really well, we enjoyed some good times together at Coventry and scored goals together,” Clarke acknowledged.

“It’s fantastic when you can have a partnership with someone, because you feed off each other and confidence grows.

“Callum is a really dangerous striker from the opposition point of view.

“He’s so strong and quick, he’s direct and he never hesitates if he gets a chance to shoot.

“His finishing was good in League One ,but he’s worked on it a lot and is a much better player than he was even then.

“He’s going to be a handful for our defenders, that’s for sure, and he’s been a big part of what Bournemouth have achieved this season.”

That said, Latics will go into the game having restored some of their battered confidence in the battling 0-0 draw at Ipswich last weekend.

And Clarke has already seen from his short time at the club that they have enough quality to damage the Cherries.

“We’ve got some good players here and I’ve experienced that for myself now,” he added. “Every team goes through difficult spells, and it’s up to us to work hard, focus and do everything we can to get the club moving up the table.”