Former Preston North End captain Tom Clarke has announced his retirement from the game following a persistent knee injury.

The 35-year-old was with Halifax Town but the club have confirmed that following medical advice, Clarke has reluctantly decided to hang up his boots.

The defender will of course be best remembered for two iconic moments. Scoring the winner against Blackpool in 2013 just a couple of games into his Preston career. Stopping at the back post to nod home a Lee Holmes free-kick in the first round of the League Cup.

Then two years later he was lifting the League One play-off trophy at Wembley after Preston had easily beaten Swindon 4-0.

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Preston North End v Blackpool - Capital One Cup First Round
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Tom Clarke was a huge part of the Simon Grayson era and was an old fashioned captain who would lead from the back. An important voice on and off the pitch, Clarke continued to lead North End in the Championship.

Bailey Wright and Paul Huntington were two to have developed a good partnership with Clarke, with the Preston defence often so hard to break down. His appearances in the team did start to dwindle under Alex Neil though in part to injuries.

He eventually left the club in the summer of 2020 after 247 appearances and 15 goals for the club.

Clarke arrived from Huddersfield Town after previously playing under Grayson at the club. The two would go on to bring success to Deepdale and Clarke could truly call Preston his home.

Super Tommy Clarke had a season each with Salford City and Fleetwood Town after leaving North End. It was Graham Alexander who took him to Salford in League Two before he stepped back up to League One with the Cod Army. Simon Grayson was manager of Fleetwood at the time and couldn’t resist the opportunity of working with Clarke again.

The defender then signed with his hometown club Halifax Town last summer.

Injuries restricted him to just 11 appearances for The Shaymen, a huge shame for Clarke who was captain at the club and would have liked to have had another season at least.

A career in coaching may be next for Clarke but he will always receive a heroes welcome at Deepdale. An iconic player of the last decade and a proper captain.

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