JR Wilson has become the first new signing for Sligo Rovers for the 2024 season.
Wilson has spent the majority of his career with Shelbourne and has also lined out for Bohemians and Bray Wanderers.
He made 31 appearances in all competitions last year with Shels as they finished fourth in the Premier Division.
Wilson pens an agreement for the new campaign and visited Sligo this morning.
The 24-year-old defender is excited about moving to the north-west to play for Rovers.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of the club.
“The manager impressed me and convinced me sign here. He’s spoken to me a lot about the club and the season just gone. I know the plans he has and it’s exciting. He wants to build a new group and it was great to hear he wanted me to part of that.
“I’ve met people around the club today and it’s really positive. I can’t wait to move down and begin training.”
Wilson already has a Bit O’ Red connection through 1994 treble winning team member Gerry Carr as a family friend and is friends with Gerry’s son.
“Gerry has been on to me already and telling me to sign! We went to the Cup finals in the 2010 eras so I know all about the club of course. It’s a massive club and it’s time to get it back up the table.
“It’s a big move for myself to leave Dublin. I wanted to be out of my comfort zone.
“That was another factor. It’s something different and something I really want to embrace.”
Rovers manager John Russell said: “I’ve always been a big fan of JR and have followed his career.
“He likes to get forward, create chances and can scores goals but primarily we’re bringing him in for his defensive qualities. He is aggressive in a one-on-one and a real competitor in every aspect. I’ve been really impressed by him and how he has taken the opportunity to leave the Dublin area and move down with us.
“He is looking for a new challenge and to make a big commitment. I think he has real leadership qualities. He’ll be 25 next month so he’s coming into a brilliant stage of his career and knows the league.”
Having made multiple changes to his squad, Russell added: “I’m trying to get good quality players to the club. It’s important to stay calm and bring the right players in. I’ll be patient, I know what I want, and it’s about identifying the type of players to bring in.
“It’s important we reset and it’s exciting we’re going to have a fresh team. We’ve got Reece Hutchinson on the left-side and JR on the right which gives us a great balance, two players who are adept at both defending and attacking in their positions.
“I’d like the supporters to know it will take time to build our entire squad. We’ve made a lot of changes knowing there had to be a reset. The players we bring here will be the right ones and we won’t just make a squad for the sake of it. This is a very good start for us.”