PETER CLARKE has warned his old Everton mates he’s not coming back to Goodison on a nostalgia trip.
A resolute centre-half Clarke grew up at Everton, playing at every level from schoolboy to first team.
Forced to leave Goodison in the pursuit of regular first team football Clarke, now 28, will skipper a Huddersfield side hoping to cause a Carling Cup upset tomorrow night.
Also in the Huddersfield team will be Gary Naysmith, who spent seven seasons at Goodison from 2000 to 2007.
But Clarke warned: “Neither of us are going there to reminisce. Everton are in the past for both of us and we’ll go there to show what we’re all about and give them a game.
“It will be my first return to Everton, and the club has a special place in my life because it was where I started out.
“The playing roster has changed a fair bit, but a lot of the backroom staff are still in place, and it will be good to catch up.
“The fans were good to me as well, and I’m sure Gary will get a great reception, because he gave the club seven years of very good service.”
Up to 6,000 supporters are expected to travel with the League One side and Clarke added: “We’ll have a great backing, and they’ll enjoy going. Goodison is a historic ground, and the atmosphere is good for both players and supporters.”
Capped by Engl- and at schoolboy, youth, under-20 and under-21 levels Clarke made a memorable Blues debut in January 2001.
Everton travel- led to Coventry at the height of an injury crisis for a crucial relegation battle – with Walter Smith down to 11 fit senior players.
That quickly became 10 when Alec Cleland limped off after 31 minutes, but Clarke raced on and helped inspire the Blues to a remarkable 3-1 victory.
He had to wait more than 12 months for his full debut and it was a harsh introduction for a youngster, the traumatic FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough which precipitated Walter Smith’s sacking.
Despite occasional appear- ances under David Moyes – his final selection was out of position at right-back in the catastrophic FA Cup exit at Shrewsbury – he couldn’t nail down a regular place.
After loan spells at Blackpool, Coventry and Port Vale, he moved to Blackpool permanently.
After two years at Bloomfield Road he moved to Southend – where he scored a famous FA Cup equaliser at Chelsea.
More than 6,000 Southend fans celebrated along the King’s Road after that shock, and almost as many Huddersfield suporters are expected to make the equally short trip to Goodison Park from Yorkshire tomorrow night.
Everton have slashed ticket prices for the game. Adult tickets cost £12, OAPs £9 and juniors £6.