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AFC Sudbury boss hails Sam Clarke as skipper prepares to break club appearance record

PUBLISHED: 11:10 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:10 08 September 2017

AFC Sudbury skipper Sam Clarke will break the club's appearance against Cheshunt.

AFC Sudbury skipper Sam Clarke will break the club's appearance against Cheshunt.

© Copyright Stephen Waller

AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold has praised skipper Sam Clarke as the long-serving midfielder prepares to break the club’s appearance record this Saturday.

Signed from Great Wakering Rovers at the start of the 2008-09 campaign, Clarke will today play his 377th game for the Bostik North club, at Cheshunt, and surpass Paul Betson’s record.

Clarke’s feat is even more admirable given he now travels from Berkshire to fulfil his club commitments and he could have easily left in the summer following Sudbury’s relegation, as a number of other players did.

Godbold’s side sit second-bottom ahead of Saturday’s clash at third-bottom Cheshunt and he will be looking for another inspirational display from Clarke.

“It’s a tremendous feat, Sam has been at the club for a number of years now and he deserves all the praise he gets,” said Godbold.

“He is a terrific captain. His work circumstances have changed, meaning he is now travelling from Reading for training and games, but he loves the club.

“That type of player is rare nowadays and I am really pleased to have him lead the team. I think it will be a long time before the record is broken again.”

Godbold added: “Our relegation would have hurt him more than anyone else in the summer and it would have been easy for him to leave, but he wanted to lead us back into the Premier Division.

“He is an integral part of the club, on and off the pitch.”

Clarke is one of just a few faces remaining from last season’s demotion, Godbold having had to rebuild in the summer.

A new team often takes time to gel and Sudbury’s early result probably reflect that, however the Sudbury boss admits his side have not been far away in every game.

A midweek 4-2 win at Mildenhall in the FA Cup should have given them a boost, and Godbold said: “I think it’s given us a lot of confidence going into the Cheshunt game.

“This game is an opportunity for us to get our season up and running. The performances have been good, but we have got to turn that into results.

“We will only get better and the more we play together the more we will do things off the cuff.

“The players are still getting to know each other and things are starting to settle down.”

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