Clark grateful for support during his ban

SIDELINED - Calum Clark
SIDELINED - Calum Clark

Saints flanker Calum Clark says he won’t forget those who have supported him since he was slapped with a 32-week ban.

The 23-year-old will not return until November 2 after being found guilty of hyper-extending the arm of Leicester Tigers hooker Rob Hawkins during the LV= Cup final on March 18.

The suspension meant Clark missed Saints’ Aviva Premiership run-in, with the club losing at the play-off semi-final stage to eventual champions Harlequins.

But the former Leeds Carnegie ace was back in pre-season training last week as he and his team-mates prepare for the new campaign.

Clark claims he has had plenty of support since the incident, especially from Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder, and the former England Under-20 captain is now looking to the future.

“Certain people have supported me and I won’t forget that,” he said. “Jim has been very good.

“Personally I’ve got a lot of work to do before I get back on the pitch and I’ll be focusing on that and it’s just day by day.

“I just try to take everything day by day. I can’t change what’s gone on in the past and you’ve just got to be positive and look to the future.”

Clark’s absence cost Northampton as they saw their season ended at The Stoop, falling to a 25-23 defeat to Quins, who beat Leicester in the grand final.

And the England ace is now determined to put things right when he gets the chance to don the Saints shirt again in a few months’ time.

“It was a disjointed season in a way with injuries and international call-ups but that’s the nature of a club like this who are ambitious and want to get players playing at the top level,” he said.

“We as a team have to do better when those players are away, that’s one of the big focus points for us next year.

“We want to be as successful as we can possibly be. When you look at the team and the players in, the potential there is massive.

“We just need to focus on achieving what we want to achieve and go hard after the ambition of winning trophies. We’ll give it our best shot.”