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Doug Loft agrees an initial two-year deal at Gillingham after rejecting a contract at League 1 rivals Port Vale

By Luke Cawdell
Doug Loft signed on at Gillingham this week Picture Exclusive: Andy Payton

Gillingham have signed former Port Vale captain Doug Loft.

The 27-year-old midfielder has signed a two-year deal at Priestfield, with an option of a third.

Maidstone-born Loft has spent the last five seasons with Port Vale but was after a new challenge. Gills boss Peter Taylor was delighted he chose to return to Kent.

“I am really pleased about it,” said Taylor.

Doug Loft in the thick of the action for Port Vale at Priestfield

“I met Doug a couple of times and he is looking for a new challenge and it was good timing for us.

“He was captain at Port Vale and he also plays the matches. He plays a lot. You look at his record and if he hadn’t have had the facial injury at the end of last season he would have probably played in nearly all of their matches.

“He plays the games, we know he is very good at this level, he is a top professional and we know he can play different positions.

“All of those things are why he ticked the boxes and we wanted him here. He had quite a few choices and we are delighted he chose us.”

Twenty years ago Loft was watching the Gills from the Rainham End, before his own footballing career took over.

Doug Loft celebrates a Port Vale goal at Priestfield

He spent time with non-league Hastings before being signed by Brighton, which he where he rose from trainee to first team footballer.

Loft played 49 games for Brighton before being released. He had also spent two months on loan at Dagenham during the 2008/09 season.

He joined Micky Adams’ Port Vale in May 2009 and in the 2012/13 season he captained them to promotion in League 2, playing much of the season at left-back, as the Valiants battled with Gillingham for the number one spot.

Former Port Vale captain Doug Loft has joined Gillingham

Last season he was a virtual ever-present, until he suffered a well-publicised training ground facial injury, which left him sidelined for the final month of the season. Vale’s Daniel Jones was sacked after the incident.

Loft still ended the season with 43 appearances behind him and nine goals. He was offered a new deal with Port Vale but leaves Gills’ League 1 rivals having played 174 league games for them.

Following his arrival at Priestfield, Loft said: “I am delighted to have finally signed and I can’t wait to get going.”

Loft is the fourth of Gillingham's new summer recruits. He joins winger Jermaine McGlashan, goalkeeper Glenn Morris and the versatile Aaron Morris.

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