Harry Clarke pledges loan extension to Hibs as he prays Arsenal don’t pull the plug

14 May 2022 | 08:04 | Football

Harry Clarke is praying Arsenal don’t trigger his 18-month break clause Hibs loan – because he is desperate to help pick up the pieces of a broken season.

The Gunners defender signed a loan extension at Easter Road in January but had to wait until April to make his debut with a hamstring injury.

Consecutive Edinburgh derby defeats in his first three games have seen Hibs miss out in the top six, knocked out Scottish Cup in the semi-finals and his work expense manager Shaun Maloney.

To make matters worse than Clarke saw Ross . County – where he originally signed a long-term loan last summer – securing a top-half finish and boosting European football next season.

It’s the kind of starters that might have some of their lucky curses.

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But Clarke insists he has no regrets about moving from Dingwall to Leith.

And he’s adamant he wants to stick around for another year to make up for a tough campaign.

Arsenal There are breach clauses in loan deals next summer and January and no new manager at Hibs Clarke’s position can be forgiven for worrying about his future.

But he said: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m here until the end of next season. And I’m looking forward to that.

“There are breaching terms but, as far as I know, I’m here for another 12 months.

“It’s just going to a bigger club, performing on a big platform on Easter Road, where there are more fans, and proving to everyone what I can do.

“It’s a great club, great staff and they make you feel at home.

“It’s very important when you’re on loan from a big club where you don’t feel isolated and the players here are fantastic, it’s a good team.

“On my first loan I went to Oldham which is still four hours from home, Inverness has three days left! Edinburgh I’m a little closer to home, I miss my family but that’s part of the job. I don’t mind going far.”

When asked if Staggies’ push into Europe was a source of frustration, Clarke continued: “Disappointed? No.

“These things happen sometimes in football, you leave a club, they do very well and maybe the club you go to doesn’t do as well as you expect.

“I played at Hampden, I played in the big Edinburgh derbies. I didn’t contribute with a trophy or top six but we have next year.

“It’s great to be in the top six, we’re really disappointed.”

Hibs will once again be without Chris Cadden against Dundee tonight and also Paul Hanlon, whose knee injury flared up in Saturday’s draw with Aberdeen.

Interim coach David Gray challenged his players to win their last two games against Dee and St Johnstone on Sunday to give himself the best chance of finishing seventh.

And Clarke thinks summer motivation is important.

The 21-year-old thinks Scottish football has been perfect for his development and admits he has been eye-opened by the quality of the game north of the border.

“The quality here is a lot better than people think down there,” he said.

“When I first came here, I didn’t know much about Scottish football and I said it openly. Outside of Rangers-Celtic games, you don’t really watch much.

“But the people I know, my family and friends, they all started getting involved in Scottish football. It’s a great tournament and more people should be in.

“For us, really not much has changed, David took on. Everyone loves David.

“We are trying to score points and finish the season strong.

“That’s been his message since he arrived, just to end the season strong and continue what we’ve done.”

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