Forest Green Rovers have made goalkeeper James Montgomery their first signing of the summer as he joins from Gateshead.
The 24-year-old joins on a free transfer from the National League side after putting pen to paper on a two-year-contract.
Montgomery made 34 appearances as the Tynesiders finished 17th, with the stopper, who spent time at the Nike Academy before Joining Telford in 2015, keeping 12 clean sheets.
The Middlesbrough academy product joined Gateshead in January 2017 on a one-and-a-half-year deal from Telford.
James Montgomery said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’ll be the first time in League football for me and it looks like the club’s going in the right direction. I’m just really happy to be here and really looking forward to pushing on.
“Looking at the way the team plays and the style of play the manager has – I think that suits me, so hopefully I can come in and play the way the manager wants us to play.”
Montgomery spent time training with Wolves while at Telford and got to know FGR goalkeeping coach Pat Mountain:
“Pat is someone I’ve worked with in the past and I’m looking forward to working with him again and hopefully getting better and better as he’s a really good coach.”
The former Gateshead man is the only senior goalkeeper on FGR’s books at the moment and is well aware that the club is looking to bring in a rival stopper:
“I think it’s healthy to have competition for the shirt – whoever comes in will have to fight it out for the position, I’m sure they’ll want to play as much as I do but it’s good.
“If someone else comes in and they’re ahead of me then I’ll be pushing them on to make sure they’re performing at their best for the team and then likewise if I’m the one chosen to play then they’ll be pushing me. I think it’ll be the best fit for the club to have keepers fighting for the jersey.”
FGR goalkeeping coach Pat Mountain said: “He’s got everything we’re looking for in a keeper – he’s got good character and personality and is desperate to prove himself. He’s a perfect fit for us and I think we’re the right club for him to help him take the next step.
“He’s an excellent keeper – he’s agile, athletic, quick and his shot stopping is fantastic - I watched a few of his games live last season and he made some incredible saves. He’s got good distribution, is comfortable with the ball at his feet and has a good range of passing too, so he suits our style really well.
“We’ve had a complete clearing of the decks this summer goalkeeper-wise. Obviously James is a big part of that but you need two senior goalkeepers in this division so we’ll be looking to bring another in.
“He’s a young lad but has got a good bit of experience for his age and has played in almost 50 league games, so this is the perfect time for him to make the next step.”