The Sheridan effect is bringing out the best in Wednesday reject

In form: Leon Clarke was freed by the Owls and had a bust-up at Swindon but is scoring freely for Chesterfield
In form: Leon Clarke was freed by the Owls and had a bust-up at Swindon but is scoring freely for Chesterfield
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HAPPINESS for Leon Clarke would be a victory at Hillsborough tomorrow and a goal for himself against his old club.

But life is already sweet for the Chesterfield on-loan striker who has rivalled Gary Madine for the League One September Player of the Month award.

Clarke’s temporary move from Swindon to the Spireites has brought him five goals so far - including a hat-trick - and the enjoyment of working with John Sheridan, a manager he respects. They worked together at Oldham when he was on loan from the Owls in 2007.

The former Wednesday centre-forward has also become a hero of the Chesterfield fans.

Clarke has put behind him his bust-up with Paolo Di Canio at Swindon and his up-and-down time at Hillsborough, where he made only 45 starts in just over three years.

It was not always gloom for him with the Owls. He scored in the 3-1 win at Leicester in the penultimate match of the 2007-08 season as safety was virtually secured, and got another goal in the 4-1 finale against Norwich.

But his Wednesday career never really took off and it was no surprise when he was released in the summer of last year, leaving behind the memory of that incident when he scored in the crunch clash with Crystal Palce but then dislocated his toe by kicking an advertising hoarding.

Neil Warnock gave him a chance at QPR; he stayed for a year and made four starts.

The switch into League Two with Swindon came this summer and it ended after he had played only four games. Clarke and Di Canio had a public confrontation as the striker left the field.

It was said by Swindon that the manager had been trying to defuse a row between Clarke and a fitness coach. Clarke says that one day he will tell his side of the story.

Sheridan then clinched a three-month loan deal.

Clarke scored all his five goals in his first three games, including that hat-trick in a 4-1 home win against Carlisle, but has not scored in his last two.

The striker said recently that life could not be better, and he commented: “The gaffer is a really good manager. He shouts at the right time, and he’ll give you a pat on the back at the right time.

“It fills you with confidence because he’s saying the right things at the right time, and when you need the rollicking you get it!

“I enjoy working with the manager and all his staff.

I’ve got nothing but respect for the manager.”