Portsmouth’s pivotal presence refuses to miss out

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Matt Clarke has featured in every Pompey match for more than a year.

That is the remarkable statistic demonstrating his pivotal presence in Kenny Jackett’s regime.

Matthew Clarke has not missed any Pompey match for more than a year. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Matthew Clarke has not missed any Pompey match for more than a year. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

The central defender has made 54 successive starts in all competitions since November 11, 2017.

In addition, he appeared in all six first-team friendlies during last summer’s pre-season.

In terms of competitive fixtures, it’s an unbroken stretch which include outings in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, in addition to Football League games.

Even when twice named on the substitutes’ bench in the Checkatrade Trophy this season, Clarke has appeared during the second half.

The most recent occasion was last week’s 3-2 triumph over Spurs’ under-21s, an outing which signalled an ever-present involvement during the last 12 months.

It’s an ongoing run which reflects the 22-year-old’s consistently outstanding performances as well as avoiding being sidelined by injury or fatigue.

Clarke actually missed the opening six matches of Jackett’s Pompey era through a calf problem sustained against the Hawks in the 2017 pre-season.

Since recovering from that set-back, his sole absence in all competitions has been the Checkatrade Trophy visit to Charlton in November 2017.

What’s more, he has started every Pompey Football League match since September 3, 2017, when he lined-up against Rotherham.

In fact, Clarke is in line for his 60th successive league start when the Blues travel to Scunthorpe this Saturday.

Although that league figure is beaten by Jamal Lowe, another key performer for the side which has settled into League One's top spot.

The winger has already featured in 60 consecutive Blues league matches, starting from August 26, 2017.

His unbeaten run includes four substitute outings, while this season has not turned out in the Checkatrade Trophy.

In total, Lowe has been absent for just three matches of Jackett’s reign, courtesy of  a three-game ban following dismissal on the opening day of last season.

Lowe had made 55 straight appearances in all competitions until serving as an unused substitute against Gillingham in the Checkatrade Trophy in September.