Anthony Barness has given Lewes fans a huge boost as they prepare for their opening pre-season friendly.

The former Charlton, Chelsea and Bolton defender has re-signed for the club ahead of their debut season in Blue Square premier.

Barness, 36, was a key member of their Blue Square south championship winning side last season.

He is now the only member of that squad still at the club in the wake of a mass exodus following the departure of title winning boss Steven King.

The news of one player staying at the club might not sound too big but it is one more than most expected.

It has been a summer of discontent at the Dripping Pan since Lewes told King his services were no longer required as the club looked to cut costs.

His replacement, Kevin Keehan, is building a new-look side with the likes of Bognor pair Chris Breach and Seb Wallis-Tayler, Worthing goalkeeper Rikki Banks, Horsham defender Tom Graves and Havant striker Chamal Fenelon, who finished last season on loan at Chichester.

Those signings have failed to lift the mood of fans but Barness agreeing to stay on a one-year contract is certainly a welcome boost.

Barness, who cost Chelsea £350,000 when he joined them in September 1992, made 272 League appearances culminating in a spell in the Championship with Plymouth.

He left there in January 2007 and had a short stint at Grays before being snapped up by Lewes, initially as a stop-gap, at the start of last season.

Fans soon took to Barness and King called him "My 7 out of ten man" in reference to the consistency of Barness's performances. He rarely made a mistake and set up key goals including Paul Booth's header in the title-clinching win against Dorchester.

Keehan was keen to keep hold of Barness and was delighted to clinch his signature at training on Thursday evening.

He said: "It is fantastic news because he is such a true professional.

"He retains the ball, which is what you want as a manager. He brings a lot of experience and he can play in a few different positions.

"I think he was a bit wary of signing until he had seen the other players we had.

"But he has been training at five of the sessions and has been impressed enough with what we have seen. We are very pleased to get him."

Keehan has been working non-stop to try to bring in some experienced players to work alongside the youngsters he will be putting his faith in next season.

The likes of Gary Hart, Kerry Mayo and Paul Reid, who were released by Albion at the end of last season, plus former Seagull Richard Carpenter and ex-Tranmere, Plymouth and Bolton striker Scott Taylor have all been linked with a move to the Dripping Pan.

Keehan is hoping to be able to reveal further plans about his squad in the next few days.

He said: "On Monday or Tuesday we might have some good news.

"I am quite happy with the way things are shaping up but I am still looking for a big centre half."

Who should Lewes go for now? Let us know below.