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Former Cardiff City and Crystal Palace midfielder Stuart O'Keefe signs for Gillingham

Gillingham have signed former Cardiff City midfielder Stuart O’Keefe.

The 28-year-old was released by the Bluebirds at the end of the season.

O’Keefe, who started out as a youngster with Ipswich Town and then Southend United, has played Premier League football for Crystal Palace.

Stuart O'Keefe pressures Dover's Liam Bellamy while playing for Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Picture: Martin Apps
Stuart O'Keefe pressures Dover's Liam Bellamy while playing for Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Picture: Martin Apps

New Gills boss Steve Evans has earmarked the midfield area as one that needs improving and was quick to snap up O’Keefe, who has agreed a two-year deal.

O'Keefe told the Gills website: “For me Gillingham presents a great opportunity to try and achieve something.

"Steve Evans is very competitive and has been very successful with Crawley, Rotherham and then at Peterborough.

“I live locally and it presents a chance for me to settle down and concentrate on my Football. I’m now looking forward to meeting my team-mates and enjoying a good pre-season.”

Evans added: “He’s an energetic, competitive midfielder and we are delighted to have him on board.”

He made his league debut as a 17-year-old for Southend and moved to Palace, where he made over 50 appearances.

O’Keefe played 12 games for Palace during the 2013/14 season when they were in the top-flight, having played at Wembley to help win the Championship play-off final against Watford.

He had a brief loan spell at Blackpool before moving to Cardiff in January 2015, on a two and a half year deal. The Welsh side, then under the management of Russel Slade, paid a large fee for the midfielder.

He’s played 38 league games for Cardiff but in recent seasons has spent time on loan, facing the Gills during his time at Portsmouth duringthe 2017/18 season and while at Plymouth last season.

His arrival is the fourth since Evans took charge and comes after the signings of central defender Connor Ogilvie, goalkeeper Jack Bonham and versatile right-back Lee Hodson.

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