Former captain Clarke willing Orient to win at Wembley this time
PUBLISHED: 18:30 13 May 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
Nathan Clarke has backed Justin Edinburgh's O's and ex-team-mate Kevin Lisble to both claim silverware under the arch this weekend
Nathan Clarke is hopeful the Leyton Orient fans will enjoy their trip to Wembley for the FA Trophy final on Sunday.
The Halifax Town centre back was the last player to captain O's at the national stadium, but it was a devastating day.
Russell Slade's team let a two-goal lead slip in the League One play-off final against Rotherham United and went down 4-3 on penalties on May 25 2014.
Goals by Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox put Orient in control, but two Alex Revell efforts - against his old team - forced extra-time and then the dreaded spot-kicks.
After being so close to the Championship, everyonethem in is aware of what happened in the ensuing years, but Clarke is thrilled to see the club back at Wembley and on the up again.
He said: "It will be brilliant for the fans and what a great stadium. The support we had when we were in the play-off final was fantastic and we were just absolutely gutted we couldn't do it for them really.
"We were so close and it still crops up on Sky Sports, so it is a tough one to watch, but I hope for the fans and the team they can win at Wembley on this occasion."
Clarke continued: "I don't want to jinx it, but things look pretty stable at the club again in the sense that you have some good guys behind the scenes and a really good manager (Justin Edinburgh).
"The manager plays the right way and plays attractive football and the club have a good squad, so hopefully they can continue to push on."
Speaking back on April 6, after Halifax had held Orient to a 2-2 draw in the National League, Clarke admitted he did want to make the final.
The one-time O's favourite, who paid tribute to the fans by applauding them in all four stands at Brisbane Road last month, added: "It would be nice to get down for the day.
"There is talk and I am in a few group chats on WhatsApp. I still talk to Scotty Cuthbert, Matty Baudry, (Jamie) Jonesy and Lloyd James, and Gary Sawyer, so there are a lot of lads who may try and sneak in if we can.
"If not I'll be right behind them watching on the TV and supporting them all the way."
One of Clarke's team-mates from 2014 will be there, with Kevin Lisbie in the FA Vase final with Cray Valley PM.
The forward, who played in the Premier League with Charlton Athletic, is remembered fondly by Orient supporters after lighting up League One five seasons ago.
He will aim to get his hands on silverware on Sunday with Cray Valley taking on Chertsey Town under the arch at 12.15pm - four hours before O's clash.
"What a player he was during the time he spent here at the club," Clarke said. "A great player to have in your team, with fantastic experience so hopefully he does well too."