Josh Gillies has become South Shields’ fourth signing of the summer after completing a move from Darlington.
He is also the Mariners’ fourth acquisition from the Blackwell Meadows-based club this summer, following in the footsteps of Gary Brown, Chris Hunter and Phil Turnbull.
The 28-year-old, who can play on either flank or behind a main striker, has vast experience at various levels of the game, from his formative years with Sunderland Nissan and Newcastle Blue Star to a spell in the Football League with Carlisle United.
He most recently spent two years starring for Darlington in the National League North, but has opted to drop one division after a positive discussion with Shields joint managers Graham Fenton and Lee Picton.
Gillies said: “I’m over the moon to have joined the club.
“I met Graham and Lee earlier this week and came away feeling very excited about what is happening here.
“From the outside looking in, you can see where the club is going and where it wants to be.
“The plans the club have are amazing and hopefully I can help it on its way.
“It’s something I want to be a part of.”
Gillies started his career with Sunderland Nissan and Newcastle Blue Star before progressing up the pyramid, including a two-year spell in the Football League with Carlisle.
He enjoyed two stints at Gateshead either side of his time at Carlisle, scoring 15 goals in his most memorable campaign at National League level in 2012-13.
He was rewarded for his form that season with a call up to the England C squad, and made two appearances for his country.
Gillies is now hoping to help Shields achieve further success after they won promotion in each of the last three seasons.
He added: “You want to join a team that is looking to win the league, and that’s the number one target.
“I’m confident we’ve got the team here to do that.
“I know quite a lot of the squad having played with them in the past, so it will be easier than going to a brand-new club where you don’t know any of the players.
“Everything I’ve heard about the place is positive.
“There’s never any negativity when you speak to people about it and you want to be part of clubs like that.”
Gillies was part of the Darlington team beaten 3-0 by the Mariners in the FA Cup last season.
Although his personal experience that day was a negative one, he went away feeling impressed with Shields’ style of play.
He said: “We got a bit of a roasting that day and Shields played well.
“The way they play caught my eye as soon as I saw them.
“The full-backs spread and they like to get it down and play, which is how football should be played.
“I like to play on the floor and get into space to hurt defences.
“Hopefully it will suit me down to the ground.”
Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: “We’re delighted to bring Josh to the club as our latest addition.
“He’s someone we showed a bit of interest in last season and it’s great to now have him on board.
“Josh will give us real quality at the top end of the pitch.
“He has played at a real high standard and is an intelligent footballer who will suit the way we play really well.”