Former Huddersfield Town defender Clarke attracted to Leyton Orient's ambition
New arrival Nathan Clarke admits the ambition of the club convinced him to join Leyton Orient and he expects them to be challenging towards the top of League One this season.
The experienced centre-half signed a two-year deal at Brisbane Road this summer after leaving Huddersfield Town.
Clarke was sold the club’s vision after meeting boss Russell Slade at the end of the last campaign and does not anticipate the O’s struggling at the wrong end of the table this year.
Clarke said: “The ambition of the club convinced me to come here.
“I met the manager a few days after the end of the season and we had a really good chat about how he saw my role at the club. The excitement definitely drew me to making that decision.
“I think the fans should be very excited about the brand new season. We have a lot of new faces here that will be looking to shine and help push the club forward. This is a good club with a strong set-up and it is used to being challenging at the top end of the league.
“It’s an exciting time for everyone here and we’re looking forward to kicking on. The players are raring to go. Everyone is geared up to having a positive start to the season.
“After the disappointment of last season, when the team didn’t really do too well, he [Slade] wanted to push on and build the squad with seven new signings so that we can be challenging in a good league. He just wanted to make sure he was getting the best out of us.”
The 29-year-old joined Huddersfield as a nine-year-old but was forced into loan moves over the last 18 months.
Clarke had spells with Colchester United, Oldham Athletic and Bury which he believes have helped breathe new life into his career.
“I’ve spent the last year and a half out on loan with several clubs but I feel that was beneficial for me,” the defender explained.
“You can get frustrated by it or you can look upon it as an opportunity. Sometimes you can get a bit comfortable staying at one club for a long time.
“If you test yourself then you can get the best out of your game and going out on loan has definitely helped me. Being away from the wife and kids is a test but it has helped bring out the best in me.
“I feel that I’m a strong defender who likes to attack the ball as much as I can. I’m a good reader of the game and I’ve played about 350 games in League One. I feel I’ve got the ability to read the game and suss out the danger.”
Clarke is one of seven arrivals at the League One club this summer and the newcomers bonded during a training camp in Leicester earlier this month.
The defender said: “It’s going really well and it was great to get away on the training camp which helped the new lads settle in. Training has been brilliant and it’s been quite easy settling in here.
“I knew one or two lads from playing against them. I knew David Mooney and also Lloyd James from my time at Colchester so that always helps you settle in.”