Matt Clarke has made 'step up' from Portsmouth and will 'improve more' during loan spell away from Brighton at Derby

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Matt Clarke has been backed to continue his improvement during his Derby loan stint after taking a ‘step up’ from Pompey.

Brighton boss Graham Potter is convinced the former Blues favourite will return to his parent club at the end of the season a better player.

Clarke sealed a move to the Premier League Seagulls from Pompey in the summer for a fee in the region of £4m.

It came on the back of a stellar four campaigns for the 23-year-old at PO4, where he amassed 175 appearances and was named The News/ Sports Mail Player of the Season for successive campaigns.

But soon after joining Brighton, Clarke was loaned out to Championship outfit Derby in a bid to further aid his development.

The centre-back made a brilliant start to life at the Rams, receiving a number of plaudits following an assured debut at Huddersfield in their curtain-raiser.

Matt Clarke in action for Derby

Matt Clarke in action for Derby

However, it’s been a mixed season for Clarke since. He had a spell out of the side but he has started the past five matches.

Potter believes the season-long loan will be a ‘good experience’ for the former Ipswich ace.

And the Brighton manager is convinced Clarke will keep developing as the campaign goes on. 

‘It’s a good experience for him, he played at Portsmouth last year and it’s a step up,’ Potter told The Argus.

‘At Derby it is a good test as they are adjusting to a new coach, they lost a few players and also Frank Lampard, so it’s a bit of a settling down period for them.

‘Matt is a very hard worker, he always wants to see images (of the game).

‘We select clips for him and after training he stays and does extra work. Then you see in his decision-making and passing, and it is paying off.

‘You see his confidence is better.

‘He was used to a different style of football and he is trying to adapt to our style, with his qualities. 

‘He knows what he can do and what he cannot do, and that is an important start for a player to develop. 

‘I am convinced he will improve more.’