FORMER Blackpool and Huddersfield Town captain Peter Clarke has been named as Bury’s first signing of the summer.

The 33-year-old centre-back sealed a move to the JD Stadium on a two-year deal after being released by Blackpool following their relegation from the Championship.

Shakers manager David Flitcroft believes the Southport-born defender will provide key experience to his young defence following the club’s promotion to League One at the end of last season.

“Peter is a very important signing for the team and the club as we enter an exciting new League One adventure,” he said.

“With his experience, knowledge and understanding of playing at higher levels it was important to capture his services and add him to the group.

"He is a natural born leader and organiser; a football man of stature and standing in the game.

“With the young, dynamic defenders we currently have at the club he complements them superbly.”

Clarke started his career at Everton before spells at Blackpool, Southend and Huddersfield.

He has made the lion’s share of his 556 appearances at either League One or Championship level, scoring 42 goals.

The former England Under-21 international returned to Bloomfield Road on a free transfer last summer after being released by the Terriers, making 39 starts and two substitute appearances under two managers – Jose Riga and Lee Clark.

Clarke had been offered a new contract, but that was withdrawn following Clark’s sacking.

Flitcroft added: "We worked hard to secure Peter's services as we believe he can improve and take us forward.

“We already have an outstanding group of people, so it is important that we recruit good players but more importantly good people, and in Peter he possesses that great human quality that makes him stand out."