PHIL Parkinson is playing down the pre-season hype over Lewis Clarkson but admitted he could not have started any better.

The 20-year-old striker has begun City's friendly campaign with a bang by firing doubles in both of their opening outings.

Clarkson is keen to stake a claim in his second stab at professional football after being released by Hull last summer.

His capture on an 18-month deal from Scarborough in November was seen by City as a long-term project but injury ruined his first season at Valley Parade. Now he has come roaring out of the blocks.

And while his manager wants to keep a lid on expectations, Parkinson reckons the rookie hitman has already demonstrated a knack in front of goal.

Parkinson said: "That's him, full stop. He's a very confident boy when the ball comes in that box.

"Lewis was a little bit unlucky when he came in the building last year. He was a long way off physically and the one game he did play, he picked up an injury with the youth team.

"It took him the whole season to get fit after that, so now we're starting to see what he's all about.

"It's still early and we don't want to get carried away in pre-season – but young Lewis can't do much more at this particular moment.

"He's given himself a chance – and I have no doubts about him that if he gets chances, he will take them."

Clarkson scored both City goals in Tuesday's defeat at UCD, which also saw defender Matt Taylor come through his first outing since December.

"Lewis took his goals really well and four in two games is a great start for him," said Parkinson.

"He's got to continue to improve and get himself fitter but obviously his confidence levels are high when you score goals.

"I'm also pleased with Matty. That game was big for him because it's a long time since he played. He had a bad injury last year but he's trained well.

"We were thinking of saving him until Saturday but, just looking at the training load of the week, we thought it was best he got 45 minutes in.

"He looked fine. We were playing against a young, very fit team and it was a good test."

Billy Knott and Gary Liddle received late knocks but Parkinson is hopeful both will be fit to face Shelbourne at the weekend.