Clarkson driving for comeback
Wed, 08 May 2013 16:52:00
Gertjan Verbeek believes AZ Alkmaar will have to be at the top of their game when they take on PSV in the final of the KNVB Beker.
AZ go into the match as the underdogs as they are set to finish the Eredivisie season in mid-table while their opponents are currently second in the standings behind newly-crowned champions Ajax.
Verbeek told reporters: "We need to have a very good day for us.
"It's something unique to achieve with this team. A beautiful event, especially if you win it."
Former AZ assistant coach Shota Arveladze hopes his old club can go one better than the team which lost the 2007 final when he was working there.
Arveladze, now coach of Istanbul-based Turkish Super Lig club Kasimpasa, will be rooting for his old team.
"On Thursday I will have my fingers crossed," Arveladze told the AZ website.
"PSV are a very strong team. Yet I treasure the opportunities for AZ highly.
"For AZ it is a great opportunity, for PSV it is an attempt to make up for missing out on the title.
"A final is not just about football, but mainly mentality and willpower. AZ can write history.
"I support AZ, obviously. Hopefully they bring the cup back to Alkmaar so it gets a nice spot in the trophy case."
PSV defender Mark van Bommel thinks he and his team-mates will have little problem turning their focus away from their failed title race and on to the cup final.
"If you can win a prize, you can easily switch your focus to the cup competition," he said.
"I have so far won the cup one time in the Netherlands, which was against Willem II (2005).
"If you can win a prize, I love to take part.
"It is ultimately the biggest thing in your career that you win prizes."
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Mark Yates' men lost 1-0 to Northampton on Sunday to end their hopes of promotion from League Two but they have received a boost with their 34-year-old skipper committing his future.
"It was a no brainer for me as soon as the gaffer told me he wanted me to stay," he told the club's official website.
"It was just a case of signing the contract and it has been done nice and quickly which I'm happy with.
"I'm near enough my 150th appearance and that is over a three year period so I am really happy with that return.
"Leaving (Bristol) Rovers and joining Cheltenham Town has been everything I hoped for. I'm really pleased that I'll be here for another year."
The former Blackpool defender played 52 times for the Robins in 2012/13, scoring four times and helping his side keep 20 clean sheets, in his third season with the club.
The 27-year-old striker saw his first season at the Memorial Stadium prematurely ended by a troublesome ankle complaint that eventually needed surgery at the end of February.
And the Scotland international, who joined from rivals Bristol City last summer, hopes to report back for training with his team-mates on June 20 ready to build up to the new campaign.
"It was a very up and down first season for me," Clarkson told the Bristol Evening Post.
"It was a difficult season at times, but I have enjoyed it. It has been another learning curve for me and I'm looking forward to next season.
"I'm hopeful of being back and ready to go again at the start of pre-season.
"I've been able to start to do a bit of running over the last few weeks and it will be a case of building up my workload over the summer."