HUDDERSFIELD Town's Preston-bound Tom Clarke is ready to follow older brother Nathan by freshening up his football career away from Town.
Nathan’s switch to Leyton Orient this time last year left Tom the longest-serving player on the books at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Halifax-born pair – Nathan is 29 and Tom 25 – both came through the academy, with Tom signing his first professional contract in 2005.
He made his debut in the February of that year in a 2-1 League I loss at MK Dons, and played for England at both Under 18 and 19 level.
Time was when the brothers looked set to form a central defensive partnership for Town, but Tom was hit by a knee injury early in the 2006-07 campaign.
He recovered and came back into the first-team picture , but has figured only fleetingly over the last two seasons, and was loaned to Orient in 2011-12.
The decision not to offer him a new contract came as no surprise, and some thought the East London club might try to team him up with Nathan once again.
But North End chief Simon Grayson , Town’s manager between February 2012 and January of this year, was quick to snap up the versatile performer on a two-year deal.
Now Tom and Nathan are set to come face to face in League I, just as they did the season before last, when the former was at Orient and the latter on loan to Oldham.
He is Preston’s first signing of the summer and Grayson’s first since taking over at Deepdale in February.
Clarke, who made his only Town appearance of last season in the Capital One Cup first-round defeat at Preston, said: “This is a big move for me.
“I’ve been with Huddersfield all my career, and while I’ve been out on loan (at Halifax and Bradford as well as Orient) this is the first permanent move I’ve made.
“Coming to Preston is a new and exciting challenge, one which can hopefully turn out to be successful.
“One of the attractions of coming here was the chance to work with Simon Grayson again. When I heard he was interested in signing me, I was buzzing.
“Having been shown around the stadium and training ground, the club really deserves to be higher.”
Clarke continued: “There were a couple of reasons why I didn’t play much last season. I had both my groins done and then there was a bereavement in the family.
“There was the chance to go out on loan but with the way the family was at the time, I decided not to move.
“This summer is a new start for me. I knew I needed to move on. A big chapter of my career has closed and a new one is about to open.
“When Preston came in I was so glad and it’s been good that I’ve been able to get sorted out early.”
Grayson said: “Tom is a versatile player and is a really good one to have around. I was very impressed by what I saw of him at Huddersfield and thought he would suit us.
“You get a player who is 100% committed, he loves to tackle, to head the ball and hopefully he will compete for a place and contribute to plenty of clean sheets next season.”