Leon Clarke last kicked a ball for Coventry in the 2013/14 season in what was an extremely prolific season for the striker.
That year, he featured 23 times for the club and managed an astonishing 20 goal contributions. Despite his efforts though, the side only managed an 18th place finish in League One.
He was rewarded though with a switch to Wolves, who bagged the title and a promotion into the second tier during his first year at the club. However, Clarke only started four games during that campaign and has since gone on to play for a plethora of clubs.
In the peak years of his career during his time at Coventry, how has the striker gone on since leave the side and has he been able to replicate any of his goalscoring exploits with any team since?
The answer to that would be yes – and on a few occasions to boot. After again struggling to start many games for Wolves during their first year back in the Championship, he then went on to spend a year at Wigan Athletic.
The Latics struggled though and although Clarke managed three goal contributions in very little playing time, it wasn’t enough to keep the side in the second tier. Off Clarke went again then, this time to Bury. Back in the first-team on a regular basis, he repaid the club with 15 goals in just 32 games – again, another great record for the forward.
Bury though only managed to labour to a 16th place finish – and Sheffield United saw the potential in the striker and how prolific he was at that level and took him on. His first year with the Blades was a success, as he managed yet another title and promotion out of League One. He then finally proved he was able to cut it a league higher, as he bagged 24 goal contributions in 38 starts for Sheffield United.
It was enough to help them achieve a respectable 10th place finish in their first year back in the second tier. Clarke then had proven he was a good goalscorer in the EFL and was still in front of goal at 32 years of age.
With old club Wigan back in the Championship, they’d seen just how well Clarke could perform at that level and bagged him on yet another loan deal. Given slightly more action this time around, he produced slightly more in front of goal but he still wasn’t played regularly enough to repeat his Blades exploits.
Back with his parent side, he then found gametime harder and harder to come by. 24 games in his first year back then became just two appearances in the Premier League after the Blades were promoted. With Sheffield United in the top tier and happy to let the striker move on, it was Shrewsbury who moved quick to secure a deal for the forward and brought him in to try and do a job for them back in the third tier.
Despite his previous proficientness in front of goal in League One though, he was only given six starts for the Shrews and plundered just the one goal. It prompted them to let him move on after just a season and he joined his current side, Bristol Rovers.
At 36-years-old then and back in League Two for the first time since his Crawley days, Clarke has proven to still be a goalscorer at heart. Although he has only featured twice for his new side so far, he’s already gotten his name on the scoresheet for them.
As the season goes on, the striker will be hoping to get more action than he’s recieved over the last few seasons – and if Rovers give it to him, then he’s proven in the past that he can reward that faith with goals. The club will certainly hope that is the case here then, as the Gas look to try and seal a promotion into the third tier this season.