Shinn delighted by Clarke capture
Nathan Clarke has agreed to join Newmarket Town ahead of the 2018/19 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign.
The centre-back, who has previously turned out for the likes of AFC Sudbury, Bury Town and Mildenhall Town, ended last season with Thetford Town after stints with Stowmarket Town and Debenham LC.
However, having played alongside Newmarket boss Michael Shinn at Sudbury, Clarke is now set to become a Jockey.
“We need some leaders to add to what we have and Nathan provides that,” said Shinn.
“He wants to attack the ball and is great in both boxes.
“For a defender he gets a lot of goals, but he also enjoys defending.”
As well as his Thetford commitments, Clarke captained Gym United to the FA Sunday Cup final last term, eventually losing out 2-0 to Hardwick FC after extra-time at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane.
And it is those types of experiences that Shinn believes Newmarket’s younger squad members will be able to benefit from next term.
“We needed some more experience, the type of which Nathan has,” added the player-manager.
“We have a young centre-back in Jacob Partridge who has lots of ability.
“He wants to do well and wants to learn – having players like Nathan around him will only help him along.
“Nathan is here firstly for his ability on the pitch, but he also has plenty to pass on.”
Shinn is hopeful that Clarke’s impending transfer will not be the start of wholesale changes to the squad, rather the odd tweak here and there.
Goalkeeper Alex Archer, captain Jack Watson, Shaun Avis, Rhys Thorpe and Partridge have all verbally agreed to remain at the Bloorie.com Stadium, with Shinn hopeful the majority of last season’s squad will also remain in situ.
“We are at the time of year where everyone is speaking to everyone,” he said.
“The plan is not to make big changes to the squad because we like what we already have.
“We have spoken to the majority of the lads and I would like to think at least 90 per cent of them will be staying with us.”
So far Newmarket have five pre-season friendlies in the diary, all at home against higher-league opposition – Braintree Town, Cambridge City, Royston Town, Harlow Town and Cambridge United.
It looks to be a tough programme, but it is a deliberate ploy from Shinn, who believes he will learn plenty about his players during those fixtures.
“I have done pre-seasons before as a player against teams below our standard and do not see the point,” he said.
“If you play teams higher than yourself, it quickly shows up any flaws and where you need to improve.
“We want to one day end up at the level of those teams, so it will be a good indication as to how far away we are from getting there.
“As well as the standard of football, the games are physically going to provide a decent workout. We might add one more game nearer the season against a team at our level, but that will be it.”