Clarke wins monthly award

Article by Dan Church Saturday, February 8th, 2014  

Oxford United goalkeeper Ryan Clarke has been named Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for January.

The 31 year-old snapped up the gong after conceding no goals for the Us during all four of United’s league fixtures after the New Year.

The fans favourite said: “It is a great accolade. We have defended pretty well and pride ourselves on clean sheets so I am very proud that we have won this award for January.”

Meanwhile caretaker boss Mickey Lewis was keen to congratulate one of Oxford’s most prized assets: “Ryan has done great this month but he has been very consistent ever since he joined the club and really deserves the award.

“The whole defence has had a great month and it is great to see Ryan pick up the award for January.”

Shot-stopper Clarke fended off competition from fellow Division Four players John-Joe O’Toole (Bristol Rovers), Gary Roberts (Chesterfield) and Sam Parking (Fleetwood Town) to take the honour.

It is the Yellows’ second winner of the Player of the Month award this season, with club captain Jake Wright being crowned the winner back in August earlier this campaign.

The other winners saw Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson take the Division Two award, with Reading frontman Adam Le Fondre picking up the Player of the Month honour.

Russell Slade, manager of Leyton Orient, was recognised for his efforts in Division Three alongside Peterborough United striker Nicky Ajose. And lastly, Fleetwood Town boss Graham Alexander was the other winner in the bottom-tier alongside keeper Clarke.

Despite picking up the prestigious award, Clarke was quick to dedicate his achievements to the rest of the U’s squad for his four consecutive clean sheets last month.

He added: “I’ve had a couple of nominations before, but I’m really chuffed to get it.

“Obviously I’m a small cog in the whole of the defensive department and I dedicate it to all the lads.

“They have all chipped in and played their part. I’ve said before it’s the best defence I’ve played behind and they’re the main reason why we’ve received it.

“To get four clean sheets on the trot is great. It’s impressive and the boys have put their bodies on the line, like Jake did in the Torquay game.

“If they do get past the boys then I’m there to do what I need to do.”

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