I’m still the man in­sists Clark

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Josh Ni­cholls

BLACK­POOL manager Lee Clark re­mains adamant he is the man to turn the flail­ing club’s for­tunes around de­spite watch­ing his rock-bot­tom side lose a fourth straight match, this time against Sh­effield Wed­nes­day in a dire en­counter at Bloom­field Road.

Lewis McGugan’s cross-cumshot from a free-kick was the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two sides in a scrappy af­fair played out on Black­pool’s quag­mire of a pitch.

The Seasiders were booed off as they left the field but Clark, who has won just three matches since tak­ing over in Novem­ber, in­sisted he would be the man lead­ing the club for­ward.

“I’m 100 per cent con­fi­dent I’ll be here next sea­son,” said Clark.

“I be­lieve this from the con­ver­sa­tions I have had with the chair­man.

“No­body is happy, we’re bot­tom of the ta­ble and we’re go­ing out of the Champi- on­ship so I don’t think any­body is jump­ing through hoops but you’ve got to un­der­stand where we are at.

“Next sea­son we need to pre­pare prop­erly from the first mo­ment and with a full squad and have a proper pre-sea­son.”

Clark’s men were given a warn­ing in the 24th minute when gi­ant Wed­nes­day striker At­dhe Nuhiu missed a free-header at the back post af­ter sub­sti­tute Mar­nick Ver­mijl, who re­placed the in­jured Sam Hutchinson early on, ap­peared to get in the cen­tre for­ward’s way as he at­tempted to get on the end of an invit­ing McGugan cross from the right.

The Seasiders only de­cent at­tempt of the first half came when Jamie O’Hara curled a free-kick nar­rowly wide of the top cor­ner in the 34th minute and Clark ad­mit­ted he would have liked to have seen his team of­fer more.

He added: “We’d like to score more goals, we’d like to have more chances, we’d like to be more of a threat in the fi­nal third but you have to weigh that up in terms of the play­ers we have, in that they are young play­ers.”

Wed­nes­day’s dom­i­nance told af­ter half-time when McGugan curled in a free-kick from the left touch­line that evaded ev­ery­one in­side the penalty area and nes­tled in the far cor­ner of home goal­keeper Ell Parish’s net.

Owls skip­per Tom Lees nearly dou­bled his side’s lead in the 64th minute but his half-vol­ley was held by Parish at the back­post, af­ter Nuhiu had knocked down Chris Maguire’s floated cross-field ball from the left.

But be­lea­guered Black­pool rarely threat­ened to equalise and a tame Miles Ad­di­son header af­ter a long throw-in from Tom Barkhuizen was only par­tially cleared in the 67th minute was as close as they came to do­ing so. This en­abled Wed­nes­day to record their 18th clean sheet of the sea­son with rel­a­tive ease, some­thing that their manager Stu­art Gray was quick to point out.

He said: “It’s our 18th clean sheet of the sea­son and we de­serve credit for that.

“Ob­vi­ously credit has to go to the goal­keeper and the back four but we de­fend from the front and you needed to do that on a pitch like this.

“It was very hard to play any kind of de­cent foot­ball on this pitch.

“It just wasn’t con­ducive to knock­ing the ball around.

“But to be fair we can’t use that as an ex­cuse as our pitch isn’t that good ei­ther.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

MORE WOE: Black­pool keeper El­liot Parish and his de­fence can only look on in de­spair as Lewis McGugan opens the scor­ing

cel­e­brates HIGH-FIVE: Lewis McGugan

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