Holloway rewarded for faith in Clarke

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IAN Holloway says he never stopped believing Billy Clarke would overcome his horrific injury and return stronger.

The striker is getting sharper by the week following a year out with a ruptured knee ligament.

The 24-year-old has started the last three games and hit his best form yet to help the Seasiders beat his previous club Ipswich last Saturday.

Clarke’s confidence has been boosted by having the full backing of his manager.

Holloway said: “Billy has done brilliantly to get over that injury. It was very frustrating for him but I have always believed in him.

“I believe Ipswich have lost a good player and last Saturday I thought he conducted himself much better than before.

“He has probably been wanting to do too well, trying to prove too many people wrong, and as a result he might make the odd mistake. But on Saturday I thought he was terrific.

“He tired a little towards the end but he always looked bright, as though he was going to pop up in the right place.

“He hit one fantastic ball into the path of Brett Ormerod in the first half and that wasn’t luck – he knew Brett was there. I played him on the opposite flank because I know he can do things like that.

“I am delighted for him. He is a wonderful fella and it is a joy to work with him.”

Pool have 11 points from their opening six games – four more than in the Championship campaign of two years ago, and six more than the previous promotion season (2006-07 in League One).

The manager said: “I’m happy with what we’ve done so far. We had a lot of options on the ball going forward, but that is what we talk about in training every day. We pass and move it.

“I can bring all sorts of footballers here – big ones, short ones – and I don’t care what they look like as long as they like the ball.

“It is really important that we dig in and try to get some momentum going. That’s what we lost halfway through last season – from January on, there was all sorts going on and it was very depressing.

“I am just delighted to have this group and if we can add some more on loan we will.”