It may not necessarily be his starting XI, but Fleet boss Steve Brown now has a first eleven in place as Dean Rance became the latest player to sign on the dotted line. The highly-rated 22-year-old Dover midfielder came through the Gillingham youth academy, ending up as top scorer for the youth team in his final year before signing a professional contract.
After a loan spell at his hometown side Maidstone, as well as Bishop’s Stortford, he was awarded a new Gillingham contract and made his debut in an FA Cup tie. A further loan period at Dover was made permanent in May 2012 and Dean featured regularly in the Whites side that made it all the way to the Conference South play-off final in 2013. His combative, more defensive style is expected to complement teammate Daryl McMahon’s attacking nature in the middle of the Fleet line-up.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dover and the fans there were brilliant to me,” Dean told the Fleet website. “And of course I was delighted to be chosen as player of the year by my teammates. But when it became clear that a lot of the players from last year were not being offered terms for this season I reluctantly had to look at my own situation and because Dover offered me the same money as last season I think that sent me a clear message.
“I believe that Steve Brown has improved me as a player and when he set out his vision and ambition for Ebbsfleet United I wanted to come here despite a number of other offers which were better for me financially. It’s an exciting time to be involved with the Fleet and I can’t wait to play a big part in making their ambition and vision become a reality.”