New goalkeeper aims to be a steady influence
Ryan Clarke is raring to go for pre-season with AFC Wimbledon after keeping himself fit during the summer and he believes his experience can help Neal Ardley’s men next season.
Having amassed over 450 senior appearances, including a six-year spell with Oxford United, Ryan is relishing a new challenge after a lack of games with previous club Northampton Town.
“I’ve been busy throughout the summer and have been keeping myself fit,” said the goalkeeper. “I did not play as much as I would have liked last season, but I’ve managed to stay fit. I knew that I was probably going to move on so I wanted to get a head-start and be ready, whatever the outcome. I want to hit the ground running and have a good pre-season.
“I like to pride myself on being consistent, reliable, and coming for crosses in the box. I try to make sure everything is organised at the back and hopefully I can provide a steady influence for the rest of the team. I want to do my job, which is to keep the ball out of the net.”
Goalkeeping Coach Ashley Bayes will be aiming to help him do that to the best of his ability and Ryan is looking forward to linking up with the man known as ‘Bayzo’.
Speaking during the interview for Dons Player, Ryan added: “When I was a young goalkeeper and learning my trade ‘Bayzo’ was regarded as one of the top keepers in the lower leagues. I remember playing against him too and I cannot wait to work with him. His enthusiasm is nuts apparently! That will be good for me and I can’t wait, not just to work with ‘Bayzo’, but also the other goalkeepers at the club.
“I’m sure Dannie Bulman will help me settle in nicely. We got promoted together at Oxford United and Jon Meades was also there with me for a couple of years. There are always a couple of faces you know when you move to a new club and it’s really helpful. I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of the boys too.”
Shortly after joining us, Ryan spoke of his admiration of AFC Wimbledon as a fans club and he is looking forward to the challenge of League One football.
“The history and everything that has gone on with the club was highlighted by the press in the build-up to the final,” added Ryan. “It set out what the club is about. I cannot wait to be part of that and hopefully to repay the fans for their support with my performances on the pitch.
“There will be pressure at this level, but it’s a nice pressure. It’s going to be a tough challenge at a higher level, but an exciting one. There are a lot of big teams in League One and we will have to be ready for every game. We’ve all played against big teams in cup competitions and that’s added up for me over the years through my experience. Hopefully, we will all be able to enjoy it and express ourselves on a regular basis.”