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Preston North End skipper Tom Clarke praises young central defensive partner Jordan Storey

Deepdale skipper Tom Clarke has been impressed with the early performances of Jordan Storey in the Preston defence.

Clarke partnered Storey in last week’s 4-0 victory over Wigan, that PNE’s first clean sheet in the Championship since the opening day.

Preston North End's Jordan Storey

Preston North End's Jordan Storey

In a campaign when the back line has been chopped and changed, it was the first time the duo had been paired together.

What particularly struck Clarke is 21-year-old Storey not being afraid to use his voice.

“Jordan looked assured and has a lot of attributes,” Clarke told the Post.

“The more games he plays, the more experience he’ll get and the better he will be for that.

“He has come in and played a couple of games during a tough period for the club.

“What I liked about him in the Wigan game was that he was talkative and loud, that communication is very much what you want.

“You need to be vocal on the pitch whatever age you are, the more you can communicate the better.

“It’s good that someone can come into the team like that and play well.

“Coming off the pitch, we were so pleased to have got the clean sheet.”

Although Storey is not the youngest player in the North End squad, he doesn’t have a wealth of first-team football under his belt.

His debut for Exeter City only came last season, with him making 17 appearances.

But he did enough to catch the eye of Preston who paid around £500,000 for him in June.

Alex Neil eased him into the first-team frame, his first three appearances in a PNE shirt all coming in the League Cup – albeit it twice against Championship opposition.

Storey got his first taste of Championship action in the 3-2 defeat to West Bromwich, then came last week’s start against Wigan.

Said Clarke: “I’d played alongside Jordan in some of the pre-season games so there was a bit of an understanding.

“We worked well together and helped each other.

“Jordan is a younger lad just starting to make his way in the game.”

Clarke looks back on the Wigan win with a great deal of satisfaction.

It was much needed and has helped PNE have a much more positive attitude during the international break.

“We felt a win was coming and thankfully it did,” said 30-year-old Clarke.

“A few things clicked into place and everyone made a big contribution.

“The fact it was a derby game was nice and coming off the back of the draw at Aston Villa means we have put some points together – now we have to build on it.”