Bristol Rovers make James Gibbons second summer signing after defender rejects Port Vale renewal

The Gas have made their second signing in the space of three days as Joey Barton adds defensive reinforcements

<p>James Gibbons has become the second new face at Bristol Rovers this summer. (Photo by James Gill/Getty Images)</p>

James Gibbons has become the second new face at Bristol Rovers this summer. (Photo by James Gill/Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers have made their second signing of the week by signing defender James Gibbons.

Gibbons joins on a free transfer after his deal at League One rivals Port Vale expired, rejecting the opportunity to stay at Vale Park and puts pen-to-paper on a two-year deal with the Gas.

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The 24-year-old was an important figure in the Valiants defence last season, making 23 appearances in League Two, as well as their three play-off matches. He was able to assist his teammates on four occasions and also got two goals.

Gibbons has already had the experience of playing at the Memorial Stadium, featuring in a 2-1 win for Darrell Clarke’s men in December, the last time Rovers lost at home that season.

Commenting on his move to The Quarters, he said: “I can’t wait to get started. I came through the youth set-up at Port Vale and, although they offered me a new deal, I was looking for a fresh challenge.

“I played at The Mem last season (in Vale’s 2-1 win against nine men) and, as well as the driving rain, I remember what a great atmosphere there was.”

An ankle ligament injury as well as some hamstring problems limited him playing a full campaign but at one point he was a contender for their Player of the Year award.

In total, he made 111 appearances in six seasons at the Staffordshire club, and was highly thought of by Darrell Clarke before his departure.

He is predominantly a right-back or a wing-back but can play on both sides and will add more cover to a department that is low on numbers

He will act as competition for academy graduate Luca Hoole, whilst utility man Josh Grant can also play in that role.

On the opposite side of the defence, Trevor Clarke, who signed a two-year deal this summer can cover as left-back, as well as Nick Anderton.

As it stands, Rovers have only one out-and-out senior centre-back option in Alfie Kilgour, but Anderton can also play in that position, as can Paul Coutts however he is suspended for the first three matches.