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Oxford United boss ponders goalkeeping poser
9:10am Thursday 12th April 2012 in Oxford Utd
United’s No 1 took a blow to the ribs in the second half, which meant he was unable to take goal kicks, and the normally reliable stopper made a rare error in conceding a 90th-minute equaliser.
Whether the rib injury was a contributory factor to palming in Taiwo Atieno’s shot was unclear, but Wilder admitted it was a save he expected Clarke to make 99 times out of 100.
The U’s boss prefers to name five outfield players on the bench to increase his options, so was unable to replace Clarke, but will now look at reviewing the policy during the run-in.
He said: “Clarkey’s not missed any games this season, whether that’s something we need to look at between now and the end of the season (we’ll see), but we wanted to go and win the game.
“We’re at home, we’re on the front foot and we need to go and win games.
“For us to name Scotty (Rendell), Oli (Johnson) and JP (Pittman) was a bold move, you don’t expect your goalkeeper who has played that many games for you over the last two or three years to get injured.”
Clarke has been phenomenally reliable since joining United, making 143 starts in less than three seasons.
The 29-year-old will be assessed to see if the injury will keep him out of this Saturday’s home game against Gillingham.
Wayne Brown will deputise if Clarke is unable to play, having made just two appearances in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy this season, while teenager Max Crocombe would be in line for a place on the bench.
It would be far from ideal preparation for another massive encounter, with the U’s desperate for a win to stay in the npower League Two play-off places after going three games without a victory.
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