A rare blunder from ex-Portsmouth favourite Matt Clarke - but Derby to discuss his future with Brighton

It was a sight that fans seldom saw while Matt Clarke was at Pompey.
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Derby supporters, too, have rarely witnessed the centre-back make an error this season.

So it was a fairly significant shock when Clarke scored an own goal during the Rams’ 3-1 defeat to Championship winners Leeds yesterday.

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The ex-Ipswich man awkwardly turned Ezgjan Alioski’s cross into his net in the 84th minute of yesterday’s clash at Pride Park.

Nevertheless, Clarke’s enjoyed a superb season for Phillip Cocu’s side in the second tier.

After leaving Pompey for Premier League side Brighton for a fee of around £4m last summer, he was loaned to Derby for the campaign.

He’s scored once in 36 appearances as the Rams’ play-off bid has fallen short with one game remaining.

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Clarke might already be wondering what the plan is for him next season.

Matt Clarke reacts scoring an own goal for Derby against Leeds. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty ImagesMatt Clarke reacts scoring an own goal for Derby against Leeds. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Matt Clarke reacts scoring an own goal for Derby against Leeds. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Brighton are well stocked with centre-backs. They include Blues academy graduate Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk, Dan Burn and Shane Duffy.

Meanwhile, manager Graham Potter has said Ben White will compete for a place next term after playing a key role to help Leeds end their 16-year exile from the Premier League.

That could see Clarke again head out on loan to gain more experience – and Derby would be interested in retaining his services.

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Rams boss Cocu told the Derby Telegraph: ‘If you consider how he came in, with the style of game he was used to, it is just a pleasure to see him play.

‘It is something we should discuss in the next couple of weeks because he is on loan, it is not only up to us.

‘We have to talk with his club, and with Matt.

‘The play-offs now are out of sight, so it is something that will be starting up in the next couple of weeks.’

Clarke netted nine times in 175 appearances during his four seasons at Pompey.

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He helped the Blues clinch the League Two title in 2017 and delivered a man-of-the-match performance in the Checkatrade Trophy final triumph over Sunderland at Wembley two years later.

Clarke was also named The News/ Sports Mail Player of the Season for successive years in 2018 and 2019.