BRANTHAM Athletic striker George Clarke wants to bury the memories of his injury hell by inspiring a promotion push this season.

The Imps front man joined just before Christmas and notched five goals in three Thurlow Nunn League games, prior to Saturday’s 1-0 success at Fakenham Town.

His purple patch has been in stark contrast to a year a half on the sidelines, following two ankle injuries.

But the 21-year-old has vowed to put those dark days behind him and keep scoring the goals that could take the promotion-chasing Imps into the Bostik League.

“I absolutely hated those 18 months,” he said.

“I started to get fit after the first operation and then suffered another injury and was told I needed more surgery.

“It was seriously tough, both mentally and physically, and I guess there were a few little doubts about my long-term future in the game.

“But as I started to get fitter and stronger after the second op, my confidence returned and now, thankfully, I feel good.

“I’m really enjoying my football and feeling confident and hopefully I can play my part in helping take the club forward.

“We’re right in the thick of it and we’ve just got to try and keep it up.

“We need to keep working hard and performing and hopefully if we do that, the results will follow.

“We’ve certainly got the quality here and the team spirit is unbelievable.”

Saturday’s victory at Fakenham hoisted the Imps to second in the premier division table, leapfrogging Coggeshall Town and Stowmarket Town.

It promises to be an exciting second-half of the season and Matt Carmichael and Michael Brothers’ side will be targetting more points from tomorrow’s home match against Long Melford, at the Leisure Centre (kick-off 3pm). Clarke is determined to play his part and he added: “I’ve loving it here.

“It’s my local club and played here from the ages of seven to 12, plus another year when I was 15 or 16.

“I live in the village, have always watched the first team and already knew everyone, from the players and management to the chairman and committee, and that’s helped me settle in.

“They’ve given me a lot of confidence and, so far, it’s going very well.

“I’m enjoying playing up front with Sam (Newson).

“He’s someone I’ve known for years, since we were together at Needham.

“I know what he’s capable of and he knows what I can do.

“He’ll always score goals and work hard and hopefully we can bring our qualities together create a really good partnership.

“On a personal note, I’ve set myself a target of 20 goals.

“I’m on five at the moment and believe that’s achievable in the second half of the season. Ideally, I’d like even more.”

Brantham signalled their promotion ambitions with a 2-1 victory at Coggeshall on January 13.

Clarke scored their winning goal from the penalty spot, seven minutes from time, and he said: “We were absolutely buzzing after that result.

“After Michael Brothers’ red card, I thought it might be hard to get back in the game but we showed our quality and managed to find a way.”

Afterwards Brothers sung the praises of assistant boss Jack Wignall, who pulled the strings from the dugout.

In addition to Brothers having been sent off, Carmichael was unable to be there because of a combination of work commitments and personal reasons.

“Jack did a brilliant job and he’s been a great addition to the management team,” said Brothers.