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Tarkowski's route to goal

5 October 2012

Defender recalls life as a striker

It ought to be no surprise that defender James Tarkowski has an eye for goal.

The teenager (pictured), whose header at Crewe set Latics on the road to victory, began life as a striker in junior football.

However, it has been a case of moving backwards to advance his career.

Tarkowski said: "I think I was played up front because I was a big kid who could get on the end of crosses.

"As I have got older I have gradually moved backwards.

"I try to get into the box for set pieces and to nick a goal, but I don't consider myself a 10/15 goals a season player."

He also believes his excellent range of passing comes from his time spent playing in midfield.

Tarkowski is on stand-by to play against Preston North End tomorrow if Jean-Yves M'voto fails to recover from the ankle injury he sustained at Crewe.

He replaced M'voto late in the opening period at the Alexandra Stadium and, apart from scoring, helped Latics keep a rare clean sheet.

Tarkowski featured alongside M'voto throughout pre-season and the early part of the campaign before he was replaced by summer signing Cliff Byrne.

He admitted he deserved to lose his place after his form dipped.

"In fairness, I had my chance. I was playing well pre-season and at the start of the season and probably rightly lost my place as I wasn't at my best," he explained.

And he says the vastly-experienced Byrne has been a massive help to him.

"Cliff has done defensive sessions with me and he is always taking me to one side and offering advice. He has been good to work with," he explained.

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