PETE Wild is optimistic the head injury sustained by Oldham skipper Peter Clarke against Newport is not as severe as first feared.

On a bruising night in South Wales, during which the Latics were beaten 2-0, Wild saw Clarke forced off after he was clattered by team-mate Zeus de la Paz and then fellow centre-half George Edmundson followed, the 21-year-old suffering a leg injury as Mark O’Brien gave the Exiles the lead.

But, although Clarke is still to be assessed, the signs look promising.

“It was always going to be tough coming here,” said Wild. “Getting an injury to our skipper made it tougher and then we picked up an injury to George at the start of the second half. They were two of our most influential players across the season.

“Peter went off in a neck brace and the doctors were concerned about him but he was back on the bench at the end of the game and he seemed to be okay – we are pleased about that, while George got an injury to his calf. We’ve now got to pick them up and drive them forward, and look to get a positive result against Northampton to finish off the season.”

That double injury blow hamstrung the Latics, who were unable to hit the heights in their final away game of the current campaign.

Newport hauled themselves into the final League Two play-off position ahead of Saturday’s season finale, O’Brien cracking home an effort early in the second half before later deflecting Robbie Willmott’s strike into the net.

Defeat leaves Wild’s men 13th in the table, eight points off the top four, their hopes of an instant return to the third tier having already diminished before they arrived at Rodney Parade.

Despite his side having to deal with losing both of their central defensive lynchpins mid-match, Wild reckoned that the Latics were lacking the requisite guile to rescue something from the fire.

The Boundary Park boss said: “When you come here you have to play the conditions – the pitch and them. In the second half, we didn’t play the pitch or them in the way we should have done. We got too tippy-tappy instead of keeping on playing down the sides.

“We were professional in the way we went about our business but we just weren’t cute enough in the way we played.”