Cliff determined to keep out friend Tarkowski

Date published: 21 December 2012

ATHLETIC stopper Cliff Byrne admits there is no love lost on the training ground between himself and fellow centre-half James Tarkowski.

The pair are vying for one spot at the heart of Paul Dickov’s backline alongside automatic choice Jean-Yves Mvoto.

Former Scunthorpe man Byrne (30) is currently ahead of 19-year-old Tarkowski in the pecking order, but the healthy rivalry is intense.

“There is absolutely no love lost between Monday and Friday out on the training field,” said Byrne.

“At the moment we are up against each other for one place in the starting line-up and we both desperately want to play week-in, week-out.

“Away from that friendly rivalry we are good friends off the pitch. We try to help each other out in any way we can and communication is always there.

“We both understand the situation — we are competing for a starting spot and in training it is strictly business, how it should be.”

Byrne, who limped off in the early stages of Athletic’s 2-0 home loss to Swindon Town last time out with back spasms, is confident of being fit for tomorrow’s trip to Yeovil.

If he is declared available he is likely to get the nod next to Mvoto.

Byrne continued: “It took a few days for my injury to settle down.

“I think I caught it early. As soon as I detected a problem I came off.

“I am getting there now. After a few days of rest I trained yesterday, and we will just have to see how it is this weekend. But I feel fit and ready to go.”