Matt Clarke poised for Portsmouth appearance landmark

Matt Clarke is in the frame for his 150th Pompey appearance when the league leaders visit Oxford United.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 4:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 9:05 am
Matt Clarke will make his 150th appearance for Pompey should he feature at Oxford on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

Saturday's trip to the Kassam Stadium offers the impressive central defender the latest landmark in his Blues career.

Having initially arrived on loan from Ipswich in July 2015, Clarke has gone on to establish himself as an automatic choice and represents Pompey's prized asset.

Should he retain his place against Oxford, he will also bring up a 150th appearance for the club '“ an accomplishment achieved by the age of 22.

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Matt Clarke will make his 150th appearance for Pompey should he feature at Oxford on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

In fact, Clarke has been an ever-present in the league since September 3, 2017. A period spanning 69 consecutive matches.

Gareth Evans reached the landmark in November's 4-0 FA Cup win at Maidenhead and is currently on 164.

At the time, the midfielder was the first to make the figure since Kanu, nine years earlier.

Now Clarke is poised to follow suit, testament to the youngster's talent, consistency and injury record.

The next in line to break the 150-game barrier for Pompey is Christian Burgess, presently residing on 142 matches.

However, his first-team opportunities have been sparse this season, a last league start arriving in October at Accrington while deputising for the rested Jack Whatmough.

Burgess has totalled 15 games this season, with almost half coming in cup competitions.

Since 2000, there have been 10 players who have registered their 150th appearance for the club, not including Clarke.

In addition to Evans and Kanu (168), there have been David James (158) and Richard Hughes (165) during the last 11 years.

Before them were Gary O'Neil (193), Matt Taylor (203) and Linvoy Primus (219).

Nigel Quashie (163) represents the fifth player of Harry Redknapp's 2002-03 Division One title-winning squad which reached 150 matches for the club.

The feat was also achieved by Lee Bradbury (167) during his second spell with the Blues.

Finally, Adrian Whitbread (158) reached his landmark in March 2000 with a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest at Fratton Park.

Meanwhile, Jamal Lowe is closing in on his Pompey century.

The winger is presently on 95, which includes 70-successive league starts.

Local pair Ben Close (94) and Jack Whatmough (92) are also near.