Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray today strengthened his squad’s defensive rearguard by snapping up commanding defender Lee Collins on a free transfer.
The deal will be complete subject to Football League approval.
Primarily a centre-back, the 26-year-old will add good versatility to the Stags’ team as he can also operate comfortably at full-back if required to do so.
Born in Telford, Collins, who was previously on the books of Northampton Town, has amassed almost 300 appearances during a career which started at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He was on Wolves’ books as a youngster, but gained experienced during loan stints with Hereford United, who he helped to promotion from this level in 2007/08, then Port Vale.
After subsequently signing permanently at Vale Park in January 2009, he featured on 163 occasions during a three-and-a-half-year stay with the club.
The defender played at Sky Bet Championship level during a spell with Barnsley, before spending time on loan at Shrewsbury Town.
In February 2013, he agreed terms with Northampton Town and featured in the League Two Play-Off Final later that season. Ultimately, he made 86 appearances in all competitions for the Cobblers.
“Lee is somebody with a vast amount of experience and is of a great age,” said Stags’ boss Adam Murray shortly after sealing the deal.
“He’s someone that was an ever-present last season for Northampton. He’s been there for a few years and been a kingpin in their defence. He knows the league inside out and he’s had success at this level and also played at a higher level.”
Murray added: “I think Northampton fans were a little bit shocked that they let him go and he’s somebody that we’ve fought hard to get.
“To bring Lee into the building is a big one for us. He’ll add good strength, strength in character, and he’s a player that’s very reliable and efficient at this level.
“As a defender, he competes but he can play too. He’s quick and he’s also a leader, so we’ve got a real all-round package with him. We’ve got something which I felt was missing last year and he’s somebody that I believe will bring the best out of others.”
Collins was called up to the England U19s, but did not earn a cap. Despite this, he does not rule out one day playing for the Republic of Ireland, who he qualifies for through his Irish father.