Gills make latest summer signing
Gills make latest summer signing

Gillingham have made their latest summer signing with defender Rhys Bennett making the move to Priestfield.

The 29-year-old, who has played for Gills boss Steve Evans at both Mansfield Town and Peterborough United respectively, will link up with his new teammates immediately with the new league campaign a little over a fortnight away.

Bennett joins the Gills after rejecting a new contract offer at Carlisle United, where he made 26 appearances last season, scoring five goals. 

Rhys, a commanding presence at either centre-back or in defensive midfield, stands at 6’3 and is eligible for selection for Saturday’s friendly at Colchester.

Mansfield signed Rhys in the summer of 2016 after an outstanding spell at Rochdale on a free transfer and he played under Steve Evans, becoming a key part of the team.

Two years later he was reunited with the Gaffer, signing for Peterborough on a deal which ran until the summer of 2020. 

While at London Road he scored four goals in 63 outings and was a regular starter as Posh sat at the top of League 1 for many weeks.

On leaving Posh, Bennett signed for Carlisle and enjoyed a superb campaign.

The manager was delighted to get the deal over the line and, in doing so, get someone on board he is very familiar with.

He said: “Rhys is a big strong lad who is very mobile and quick. He has a brilliant attitude, a winning mentality and as a Manager you never have enough of them.

“I spoke to him in the summer and I made it clear that I would love him to come to Priestfield. At that stage he wanted to explore the options open to him and since then he has been made several offers by clubs in League 1, League 2 and in the SPL.

“I made contact for an update on the situation and it quickly became apparent that he was signing with a club in the SPL. However, the longer we discussed what his objectives were,  we thought we should take this further.

“The location suited, he wanted to be a part of it and it quickly happened. He has now joined us, he was outstanding for me at Mansfield hence why we took him to Peterborough and he was almost an ever present when the club was, for many weeks, top of League 1.

“It was no surprise that within 24 hours the Chairman and Rhys came to an agreement and I am delighted to say he has joined us.”

Subject to coming through training unscathed, Rhys will be available for selection against Colchester on Saturday.