Nottingham Panthers: Ollie Betteridge impresses captain

David Clarke

Captain David Clarke has tipped teenager Ollie Betteridge to become a Nottingham Panthers first-team regular.

The 17-year-old played his first full game for the club in Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the Edinburgh Capitals.

Clarke, who bagged a hat-trick against the Scots, sees plenty of potential in Betteridge, who is dual-registered with the Swindon Wildcats.

"I have no doubt if he keeps working hard, we will see him full-time here one day," he told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"He needs to keep his head straight, but if he does then he is going to progress nicely."

Panthers are currently in fifth place in the Elite League as Clarke prepares to lead them against Cardiff Devils on Saturday night.

The 32-year-old knows the value of gaining experience in the lower leagues, having worked his way up after starting out with Peterborough Pirates.

The left-winger believes playing at Swindon will be of great benefit in the long term to Betteridge, a Great Britain under-18 international.

Clarke added: "I have worked with Ollie since he was 14 or 15, and every year he seems to keep growing and doing better.

"He's plying his trade down in Swindon most of the time and comes back once a week to skate with us.

"It's nice to see him going the right way through the progression rather than just sitting on the something."