By Ross McLean
DEFIANT defender Peter Clarke believes Blackpool can prove the football world wrong and save themselves from the Championship drop.
The Seasiders are marooned at the foot of the second tier and staring down the relegation barrel, as their fortunes on and off the field reverberate between turbulence and turmoil.
The 33-year-old, who re-signed for Blackpool in the summer after his release from Huddersfield, knows they are hot favourites to slide into League One, but is adamant they can get out of trouble.
“I’m delighted to be back in a tangerine shirt,” he said. “It’s not the easiest season players will have ever had but, at the same time, what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger.
“That’s the mentality we’ve got in the dressing room. We, the players, staff and fans, have developed an ‘us against the world’ mentality.
“I’m sure 90 per cent of the football world has written us off and that’s their prerogative, but it’s something we’re using as motivation.
“We believe with hard work and application we have a real chance of getting ourselves out of the hole we’re in. If we get the job done, it will be a massive achievement for everyone involved.”
The ex-Everton centre-half missed the Seasiders’ surge to the Premier League after calling time on his first Blackpool spell by joining Southend United in 2006, citing a desire to play Championship football.
That status lasted a solitary season and was not bestowed upon him again until 2012 when Huddersfield smashed through an apparent League One glass ceiling under the Liverpudlian’s captaincy.
By that stage Blackpool had already usurped Clarke and completed their meteoric rise to the promised land from League Two inside a decade.
“It was ironic, but you make decisions in life and you have to live by those decisions,” said Clarke. “It was fantastic to see Blackpool in the Premier League and they came so close to staying up which would have been a massive achievement.
“But it’s something which is in the past and you have to move on. You have to live for now and for the future, and you can’t have regrets.”
In a twist of fate, Clarke is now working with his former Huddersfield boss Lee Clark again. Clark – without the ‘e’ –replaced the beleaguered Jose Riga in October to become the seventh holder of the managerial reins in two years.
Clark handed Clarke the captain’s armband across the Pennines at Huddersfield, and the pupil is convinced his master can revive flagging fortunes.
“He demands a lot from his players, which is only right,” said Clarke. “He wants a real intensity to training and real intensity to the games.
“It has perhaps taken one or two a little bit of time to get used to, but we’re certainly getting there.”