FORMER Wanderers midfielder Jacob Mellis is staying in League One with Gillingham.

The 29-year-old links up with his former Mansfield boss Steve Evans at the Priestfield Stadium.

A January deadline day arrival at the University of Bolton Stadium, the former Barnsley and Bury man was well known to then management duo Keith Hill and David Flitcroft but went on to make just six appearances for the Whites, five of those coming from the bench.

The one-time Chelsea youngster was one of 14 players let go by Wanderers when their relegation to League Two was confirmed.

Mellis, who appeared in the Champions League for the Stamford Bridge club, has also played for Southampton, Blackpool and Oldham.

Linked with Hamilton Academicals earlier in the summer, he told Gillingham's website: “I’m really happy; it all happened pretty quickly but I’m pleased to have everything signed.

“I played for the gaffer and Rayns (assistant Paul Raynor) at Mansfield and they got the best out of me so when the chance came up to join them again, I wanted to do it.

“Everyone has missed football so I think you’ll see hungry players everywhere; I can’t wait to get back training again.”

Gills boss Evans alluded to some off-the-field issues that Mellis has had, but is confident he will get the best out of new recruit.

He said: “Jacob is a player I have really liked for a long time and he did incredibly well during my time at Mansfield, in some games he was exceptional.

"In fact, not long after I left Mansfield, he had some family problems which would have rocked anybody, but he's with us now and it's a big year for him.

“He had a terrific education at Chelsea, and anyone selected for a Champions League match has to be considered a very good player.

“He knows this level well, he has played in over 300 professional games and, in addition to incredible natural ability, he has a great engine, is tenacious, hardworking, and chips in with a few goals.

“I am sure he will get the fans off their seats several times next season and I am delighted to have lured him away from two or three other clubs who were on the verge of clinching his signature.”

Gillingham finished 10th in the League One campaign curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic.