Peter Clarke is developing quite some CV as one of the lower league’s problem solvers.

The phrase ‘frying pan to fire’ springs to mind when reviewing the defender’s recent career moves, experiences which would test any footballer’s resolve.

But the centre-half is hungry for more – and after a shock release at Oldham, just a couple of days after being confirmed as the club’s player of the season – he is now searching for his next challenge.

Clarke was a big part of David Flitcroft’s Shakers side which consolidated their League One position in 2015/16 and returned two years later on loan in what proved a disastrous managerial spell for club legend Chris Lucketti.

Another rollercoaster season followed at Boundary Park, Oldham another club seemingly living in a constant flux of disarray.

Clarke believes he is stronger for the experience – and believes it will be the same case for the Shakers players who battled on to claim promotion last season.

“I’d like to think I learned from every stage of my career but in the last few years I’ve played at clubs which have had their own difficulties and that has taught me a lot,” he told The Bury Times.

“At Blackpool there was the big stand-off between the supporters and the ownership, at Bury and Oldham there were well-documented financial implications.

“When you have been through those you perhaps learn to deal with them better. I found that I can concentrate on my football – in fact in some circumstances the games and the training is a release for what frustration there may be elsewhere.

Bury Times: Peter Clarke in action against Bury for Oldham last seasonPeter Clarke in action against Bury for Oldham last season

“It’s not an enviable situation they are in at Bury but the lads can emerge stronger for it as people and, hopefully, we can see some light at the end of the tunnel in the not-too-distant future.”

With football finances proving more unpredictable in League One and Two, Clarke fears the problems faced by players at Bury, Bolton, Macclesfield and others could become more prevalent in the coming years.

“I can definitely empathise with what has happened to the lads,” he said. “The situation they have faced, not getting paid, it shouldn’t happen to anyone and yet you see it more and more in football.

“It must have been really draining for the lads, the fans of the club, who I know are really passionate.

“I’ve been through similar things and the relief comes when you’re out there on the pitch doing what you love doing. At this time of year it must be especially difficult.

“No matter where you play, whenever you see a story about your former club you’ll read it, or you’ll keep your eye out for results, how your friends are doing, and that’s certainly been the case for Bury.

Clarke’s first professional pre-season was at Everton some 19 years ago and in the intervening years he has learned a thing or two about getting prepared for a new campaign.

This summer, however, he finds himself in the rare position of not having a club to return to – a situation he hopes to resolve in the next few weeks.

“From a personal point of view I feel really good,” he said. “I feel rested, had that little bit of a break, and that desire to get back out there certainly hasn’t diminished.

“It is in your blood, I think. You are driven to be out there on a Saturday and a Tuesday night and I don’t think it’ll ever leave me. You crave the competitiveness of it, the battle and the fight.

“And I honestly think I have got plenty to offer a new club, plenty left in the tank, as they say.

“You get to the end of the season and your body is ready for a little break but then in a couple of weeks you start to miss the routine, being around the lads on a daily basis.

“I’ve already started getting back on the grass doing fitness work or going down to the gym because nowadays that is what you have to do to prepare yourself. Working on your own in the summer is absolutely essential.

“Most players will vouch that pre-season isn’t a time they especially enjoy but it’s a necessary evil to ensure your body is in the best shape possible. Those sacrifices you make are nothing in the grand scheme.”