Garry Wilson has hailed one of the biggest signings Lewes have made for years after snapping up centre-back Gary Elphick.
The former Albion and Eastbourne Borough defender has become the Rooks’ fourth new signing of the summer.
A number of clubs were interested in the 28-year-old who played for Tonbridge Angels last season.
But Elphick has opted to join the club where his father, also Gary, was player, manager, coach and a life member.
Lewes boss Wilson and assistant Danny Bloor have been working hard to secure Elphick’s signature and the player has now signed a contract at the Dripping Pan.
Wilson worked with Elphick during their time together at Eastbourne Borough and believes the signing is a coup for the club.
He said: “It is a fantastic signing, one of the biggest signings for Lewes in a while.
“We are delighted. For me, he is a true pro. Gary is one of the strongest characters I have had in the dressing room and he will bring a lot of values to the club.
“He will be a big fans’ favourite because of his whole-hearted approach.
“He scores goals as well and that is something we are looking for more from out defenders. We were lucky to get him.
“Other clubs were interested in him and Gary is coming into his prime as a centre-half at the age of 28. Hopefully he will be at Lewes for a long time.”
Elphick began his career at Albion, making two first team appearances including being sent off on his debut at Reading when younger brother Tommy also made his bow for the Seagulls.
On his release by Albion, Elphick joined St Albans City, then Havant and Waterloovile before linking up with Wilson in 2009 at Eastbourne Borough where he went on to make 79 league appearances before being sold to Eastleigh.
Bloor believes the arrival of Elphick will be a boost to the whole squad.
He said: “Gary will bring us so much. He is a leader and is the right character for us.
“He could have had his choice of clubs but Gary wanted to play for Lewes.
“His dad has strong connections with the club and Gary (junior) felt Lewes was the right club for him.
“When we met to sign him, his attitude was so refreshing. He has old fashioned values which we like.”
Lewes have already completed the signings of Eastbourne Borough defenders Ollie Rowe and Sam Cole plus striker Lewis Blewden, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the Dripping Pan.
A number of last season’s squad, including Fraser Logan, Jack Dixon, Nathan Crabb, Sam Crabb and Rikki Banks, have also agreed to stay while talks are ongoing with other players.
Wilson said: “We are still a couple of little pieces in the jigsaw to put together.
“I believe we need some alternative striking options. We need someone to provide a source of creating goals or scoring goals.”
Lewes kick-off their pre-season campaign at home to Albion on Saturday July 5 and will also host a Charlton Athletic XI Tuesday July 29.
They will go to Hassocks on July 16, Hastings United on July 19 and Eastbourne Borough on Saturday August 2 as well as entertaining Ryman League new boys East Grinstead on Saturday July 26.
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