Clarke-Harris 'forgot' how to play as a striker during a slow start to the season

Peterborough United top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris has vowed to start next season in peak physical condition.

By Alan Swann
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 2:25 pm
Jonson Clarke-Harris scoring for Posh at QPR earlier this season. Photo: Joe Dent/
Jonson Clarke-Harris scoring for Posh at QPR earlier this season. Photo: Joe Dent/

The 27 year-old, who could make his international debut for Jamaica later this month, has revealed playing with a serious injury in the decisive promotion battle against Lincoln City 12 months ago led to a severely disrupted build-up to a tough season in the Championship.

But Clarke-Harris, who bagged 33 goals last term, was thrust into the first game of this season just three days after making his sole pre-season playing appearance. He admits he was onto a hiding to nothing, but he was desperate to help the club.

It took until the arrival of Grant McCann as manager at the end of February before the strapping centre-forward hit his scoring stride. Six of his 11 Championship goals have come since Darren Ferguson left the club.

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"I played my first game of pre-season at King’s Lynn and three days later I was thrown straight in and started the first Championship match at Luton,” Clarke-Harris said. “It was never going to go well. It just wasn’t possible because of certain circumstances

"I’d played while I was injured last season. I then suffered too may setbacks in the summer so I knew I wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the season. I tried to be a soldier for the team, but in the first-half of the season I forget how to be a striker.

"I wasn’t seeing any crosses and I wasn’t getting any shots. All the forwards were getting disappointed because we weren’t getting any chances. I wasn’t getting a run of games so it was tough, but it’s different now.

"The damage of course has already been done, but the way we’ve been lately should have been the way from the start.

"I’ve picked up the pace now. I have match sharpness and I’ve been scoring goals again.

"We will now be ready to start fast next season so we can get back into the Championship straight away.

"We believe in each other here. We look up to each other and we enjoy working under the gaffer and Cliff (Byrne, the assistant manager). The standards have shot up since they arrived and things would have been different if they’d arrived sooner.

“We finish on the 10th, but I’m not going on holiday. I have the game for Jamaica to get ready for and there’s no way I will start next season the way I started this season.”