Clark has one eye on derby as he gears up for weekend to remember
THE Kilmarnock side Lee Clark inherited when he succeeded Gary Locke as manager last month is embroiled in a battle to avoid being relegated or dragged into the end-ofseason play-offs.
So a game against a Celtic outfit which is under intense pressure to win – and so maintain their bid to land a fifth consecutive Premiership title at Rugby Park early this afternoon – should be a daunting prospect.
However, Clark, who was encouraged by the display of his team in their 2-1 defeat by second-placed Aberdeen at Pittodrie seven days ago, firmly believes he could be about to enjoy his best weekend in quite some time.
The former Huddersfield Town, Birmingham City and Blackpool manager is confident his side can, despite their lowly league position, get a result against opponents they have drawn with twice this term.
The former Newcastle United player and lifelong supporter then hopes his beloved home town team can win a Tyne-Wear derby tomorrow which he rates as the most important ever.
United are second bottom – but they have appointed Rafa Benitez as manager and can leapfrog their local rivals and move out of the relegation places with a victory.
“This could be the best weekend,” said Clark. “We are confident we can continue where we left off against Aberdeen and get ourselves a positive result and hopefully a win against Celtic.
“Then I can try and enjoy the lead-up to the game on Sunday with my two sons, whether that be at St James’s or just in the confines of our home. Hopefully, it will be another nice day. Then everybody can look forward.
“I keep going with my superstitious head. I thought because I had kept away they would get good results. The couple of times I have been there this season they haven’t got particularly good results. I had the chance to go to the Bournemouth game, but I kept away and that didn’t seem to work.
“There are three fighting to not fall into those last two, I think. It is safe to say Aston Villa are gone. It is quite strange that I have been part of the history of the other three clubs. I was at Norwich as assistant manager, I was a player at Newcastle and I had a couple of seasons at Sunderland.
“But everyone knows the one team I want to finish fourth bottom. Unfortunately, my allegiances to those other clubs have to be diminished this time.”
TALKING TOON: Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark wants a win double