Worthing Football Club have snapped up midfielder Jesse Starkey on a permanent deal.
The 22-year-old featured eight times during in an initial one-month loan move back in November.
Starkey’s last game for Worthing was due to be at Kingstonian on Monday, only for the Bostik League Premier Division fixture to be postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch.
The former Brighton & Hove Albion man returned to League 1 Gillingham but left the club on Tuesday following the expiration of his contract.
Worthing were quick to move and have now snapped him up on a permanent deal.
General manager at Worthing Calvin Buckland said: “Jesse has re-registered with us. All we are waiting on now is for the papers to go through.
“Everything has been submitted by us, now it’s a case of awaiting confirmation.
“We’re well aware Jesse may be having trials with professional teams but we’re delighted to have him back for the time being.
“Jesse was impressive during in his loan spell and it’s great we’ve been able to get him back.”
Worthing manager Adam Hinshelwood admitted his slight frustration as they were unable to respond to Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Brightlingsea Regent.
Worthing conceded three times and had Alfie Young sent off – all in the final 20 minutes – as they suffered a first league defeat in five.
Hinshelwood was looking for a quickfire response but Monday’s Bostik League Premier Division clash at Kingstonian was postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch.
“It was frustrating we weren’t able to play the game but what can you do,” Hinshelwood added.
“We’ve had a chance to train a couple of times before our next game and we’ll be looking to put things right then.”
Worthing will have their work cut out if they are to address the defeat at Brightlingsea. Currently 22nd, Hinshelwood takes his team to third-placed Staines Town on Saturday.
But Worthing boss Hinshelwood wants his side to go into it with no fear.
He added: “We’ve shown this past two months or so we can be a match for anyone.
“It’s a daunting trip but one we’ll relish as a team. What better way to put right the defeat in our last game, then going to Staines and getting something from the game.”
Long-term absentees Ross Edwards (abductor) and Rhyle Ovenden (knee) will not return in time for the trip to Staines Town.
Centre-back Alfie Young – who was sent off after picking up two cautions in the defeat at Brightlingsea – starts his suspension when Worthing take on Staines.