Striker clocks up 100 ‘pro’ shows at just 22

Achieve­ment ‘crept up’ on for­mer U21 in­ter­na­tional

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

MATT McClure reck­ons his early ground­ing in non-league foot­ball was the key be­hind him join­ing the 100 Club at the age of 22.

The for­mer North­ern Ire­land U21 in­ter­na­tional striker signed pro forms at Adams Park five years ago be­fore hav­ing suc­cess­ful loan spells with Burn­ham, Weald­stone and Hayes & Yead­ing.

Although he has been used more as a su­per sub in re­cent weeks, McClure racked up his 100th game for Wy­combe last week when he came off the bench against Bury, and knows he is still a huge part of man­ager Gareth Ainsworth’s plans.

He said: “Play­ing non-league foot­ball was a lot dif­fer­ent from what I was used to. It is real men’s foot­ball, and it was a quick ed­u­ca­tion for me. You soon learn how to look after your­self and pick up a few tricks of the trade.

“To play 100 games at my age is a proud achieve­ment, but I must ad­mit it crept up on me. I don’t re­ally keep track of th­ese things, so it was a bit of a sur­prise when I was told.

“I know how the gaffer feels about me and he knows how I feel about him. I owe him a lot.”

In fact, not only has Ainsworth has been a key fig­ure in McClure’s de­vel­op­ment, but he has also been there at all the big mo­ments in the striker’s ca­reer.

McClure said:

“The

great es­cape against Torquay last year is up there with my favourite games, but the one at Rother­ham two years ago stands out. The gaffer had just taken over, we hadn’t won for a while and were get­ting beaten again. They were first or num­ber 101 as Wy­combe beat Mans­field Town, thanks to a Paul Hayes penalty and Peter Murphy’s headed win­ner.

Hayes net­ted the only goal of the game at Ply­mouth on Tues­day night. Wan­der­ers’ fifth win of the sea­son re­sulted in them mov­ing up to third in the ta­ble.

Ainsworth’s men are on the road again on Satur­day, to play Portsmouth.

ON FIRE: Matt McClure on strike for Wy­combe; (in­set) get­ting his name on the score­sheet dur­ing his spell at Hayes & Yead­ing

Pho­tos by John-Pa­trick Fletcher

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