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Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Gray hails hat-trick hero Clarke

Billy Clarke
Clarke re-wrote Northampton's record book against Crewe

Northampton boss Stuart Gray has claimed that striker Billy Clarke is just what the club needs following his hat-trick on his debut against Crewe.

The 21-year-old, signed on loan from Ipswich last week, played a starring role in the Cobblers' 5-1 victory over the League One strugglers at Sixfields.

"We've been creating chances and the ball has been bobbling around the six-yard box," said Gray.

"But we haven't had that many players who can score from there," he added.

"I saw little glimpses from him that he really comes alive and can sniff out a chance.

"Billy gambles and anticipates. He will make nine runs and maybe not get his break, but he keeps going."

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international is the first debutant to score a hat-trick for Northampton since Cliff Holton against Crystal Palace in September 1961, and his opening goal - after just two minutes - was the quickest by any player making his first appearance for the club.

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see also
Northampton 5-1 Crewe
24 Jan 09 |  League One
Cobblers sign Ipswich striker
20 Jan 09 |  Northampton

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