Defender George Crimmen has rejoined Sittingbourne from Swale neighbours Sheppey.
Crimmen turned down an approach earlier this year but Brickies boss Darren Blackburn has got his man at the second attempt.
The centre-back could face his old club when Sittingbourne host Sheppey in a pre-season friendly at Woodstock tonight.
Blackburn said: “Sheppey have got a higher budget and better facilities than us, which they’ve worked hard to implement, and with that they are able to attract a lot of players.
“I’ve not spoken to George loads about it but I got the impression he felt he’d dropped down the pecking order a bit there.
“He felt like there were a few in front of him, and he didn’t want to be there in that position, so he gave me the call to come back over.
“I actually put seven days in for him a few months back but he turned me down, which I admired as he wanted to stay and fight for his place.
“He’s given it his best shot but he didn’t want to be third or fourth choice. His next big birthday is his 30th and at that age you want to be playing.”
Sittingbourne lost 3-2 at home to Welling Town on Saturday in their opening pre-season friendly.
Goals from Freeman Rogers and Johan Caney-Bryan gave them a 2-1 lead at the break but Welling took the win after Blackburn shuffled his pack in the second half.
“It was a typical first pre-season game,” said Blackburn.
“We had a few lads not available and we gave a few trialists a go in the second half who weren’t ready for this level.
“I didn’t manage the game - I managed the players’ minutes.
“It was a bitty game, which I think is how pre-season will be.
“If I could hit the fast-forward button and press play on August 14, when the league starts, I would do, and I think most managers would say the same.
“Pre-season’s never the best time of year, when you’re trying to get ready and find those final bits of the puzzle.”
Sittingbourne have also signed left-winger James Hawkins from Erith & Belvedere, as well as bringing back midfielder Nick Treadwell.
Blackburn said: “We need another three, four, or five signings but it’s important we get value for money. We can be competitive this season, we want to have a go, and I’d love to push for the play-offs if we can. The spine of the side is strong.”
The Sheppey friendly is one the fans look forward to but Blackburn is conscious of the need to manage his squad against an Ites side who are already match-fit having competed in the Post-Lockdown Friendly Tournament.
He said: “I’ll try and manage the game a little bit more than I did on Saturday, if injuries and fitness allow, but if not, player welfare is the most important thing in pre-season.
“You’d expect Sheppey to be fitter than us at this stage but it should be a good game, against one of the best teams in the league below.”