Clarkson all but sure of his XI for season-opener
JOHN Clarkson says he is 99 per cent sure of the team he will field for Tiverton Town's season-opener at home to Cirencester Town on Saturday.
It is the new-look Yellows' first competitive fixture under Clarkson and, following a glut of summer signings, many anticipate the Scotsman will find it difficult to keep everyone happy.
Pre-season has seen the Tivvy boss make large numbers of substitutions to gain fitness and assess all of his options, with Friday's 1-0 success over Truro City no exception.
And although that will not be an option in the league, Clarkson claims Tiverton's demanding fixture list means everyone will have the chance to impress.
"I am 99 per cent about the side I want to play now," said Clarkson. "We are talking about 42 games before we even get started with the cups, so there are plenty of games.
"And how many teams end the season with the same starting XI as the one they began the season with? Not many.
"Players need to remember that if they do not start, it is not the be all and end all."
Friday's lively encounter with Truro was settled by an own goal with a little under 10 minutes left on the clock, as a Tivvy corner found its way through before ricocheting into the net via a Truro defender.
Tom Gardner had the first chance of the match with a header that was easily taken by keeper Jay Gildin, before Jed Harper-Penman had two efforts at goal for the visitors.
Josh Concanen and Dan Smith linked up superbly down the right for Tivvy, and the latter also sent a free-kick into the side-netting which was close enough to lead some in the ground to think it was in.
The second half was equally competitive but with fewer clear-cut chances and man-of-the-match Shane Krac impressing in midfield. With the clock running down, Tivvy snatched an unlikely winner, before Adam Carter blazed an inviting cross from Concanen over with moments left on the clock.
The win rounded off an impressive pre-season programme for Tiverton which has seen just one defeat – their first game at home to Plymouth Argyle.
"Getting a win is enjoyable. I'll take that every day in the league," said Clarkson.
"I don't know how we didn't get the second one and some of the stuff we produced in the last 10 minutes was superb.
"There is history between their manager (Steve Massey) and me when he was at Falmouth and I was at Porthleven and Launceston, and they didn't win anything then either.
"It is down to the real thing now though. You can win all the pre-season games you like but that all goes out of the window.
"We will be ready. There were four players who may well start who were not involved against Truro – Marcus Martin, Nick Rudge, Steven Reed and Sam Malsom – who also have to come back."
Clarkson also revealed he was unlikely to make a move for former Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Romain Larrieu as he is happy with his current options between the sticks.
"I have just left it as it is," he said. "I am happy with Jon (Viscosi), we have Dan (Law) as a good back-up and Paul (Hider) will be ready in four to five weeks too."