New Ross County defenseman Harry Clarke is looking forward to the challenge of guarding goals at Dingwall.
The 20-year-old, who can play on the right side of the defense as well as in the middle, signed a one-season loan from Arsenal earlier in the week, bolstering Malky Mackay’s defensive options.
He joins a team that have struggled to keep their sheets clean, with a look at the standings for most of the past two years showing the Staggies have conceded the most goals in the division.
Clarke is familiar with this sort of situation, having spent last season on England League 2 loan at Oldham Athletic, who are battling similar stats to avoid dropping out of the football league.
So, needing very little time to adjust his frame of mind, he hopes to hit the ground running in Dingwall and help shut the door on county opposition.
“It’s the same kind of problem we had last year at Oldham,” Clarke explained.
“I’ve dealt with this before, but the plan is obviously to concede fewer goals, and that gets you more points and more games.
“I played a lot there, it was a good experience because it was my first time on loan.
“It took me a while to settle in, but they were a great group of boys.
“Playing men’s football was what I needed as part of my development so hopefully I can do the same here.
“It’s a big challenge, but that’s what I’m here for – I want to stop scoring goals. “
Despite playing for parent club Arsenal in a preseason friendly against next County opponent Hibernian, Clarke admits he doesn’t know much about Scottish football.
Instead, he credits his new manager with tempting him north.
“The manager played a big part in my arrival,” insisted Clarke.
“He’s a legend here so playing for him will be great. It’s just his way of being.
“I’ve only been here a few days, but he’s a great name that will help me move forward if I can impress him.
“He knows what he’s doing. It’s a great setup, and the boys have really embraced it – even I have done it before.
“He has high standards, but he will also laugh and joke with you at the right times, which I love too.
“I think this year the league is really strong, probably the strongest it can be with the two clubs Dundee, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs, Rangers and Celtic. It will be a step forward for me, but I am really looking forward to the season.