LEE Charles has finally put pen to paper and signed for Aldershot Town — three years after he was first tracked.

Shots boss Terry Brown finally united player and club after Charles starred in Tuesday night's 4-2 pre-season friendly victory at Yeading.

It's a deal that ends three seasons of links between the two after former boss George Borg twice failed in attempts to land the ex-Hayes and Nuneaton striker.

Brown teams up with Charles after the pair spent two years together at Hayes before the 31-year-old front man made the move north in 2000.

Plucked from Queens Park Rangers reserves, Charles scored 20+ goals in both seasons at Church Road — the kind of form which saw him selected for the England amateur squad.

But after a largely unhappy two-year spell at Nuneaton, Charles opted to head back down south and Brown was naturally waiting in the wings to snap him up once again on his appointment as Shots boss.

Brown said: "Lee will be an important member of our squad, I'm delighted to be working with him again. Lee is a striker who has a lot of good attributes. He is quick, has a quality touch, holds the ball up well, creates as well as scores and is quite good in the air for a man of his height.

"We've been trying to track him ever since I came to the club. I was always confident, it was just a matter of reaching a realistic deal for both player and club."

The signing of Charles —who joins namesake Anthony in Brown's new-look squad —has helped solve one of the striking holes which Brown has had to fill, although the fight for the two remaining slots alongside Charles and Roscoe D'sane, is really hotting up.

Front runner it seems, at the moment, is Northern Ireland international Phil Gray, who starred for the Shots for the first time on Tuesday night - scoring the second goal.

Gray, 33, the ex-Sunderland, Nancy and Luton man, has an undoubted quality and scoring record and is thought to be Brown's main target if he can continue to regain his fitness.

Gray is likely to travel in a 16-18-man squad for the pre-season friendly with Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday.

Also in the reckoning in former Dulwich and Tottenham man Dave McEwan and Wycombe Wanderers hitman Andy Baird, who also made his debut for the Shots in Tuesday night's game.

Baird, who has played over 40 times for the Wycombe first team squad, has spent a week on trial at Oxford and two weeks at Exeter, and is currently considering his options.

Naturally, he wants to stay in the professional game, especially as Exeter look to be offering him a deal. He plays for them on Saturday so will miss the Havant trip.

Defensively, Brown is looking for a right-sided centre back, and former Colchester man David Greene the favourite to slot in.

Greene though is in the same scenario as Gray in that he needs to prove his match fitness before convincing Brown that he is the man to take over the mantle. He followed up a positive debut at the weekend with another solid performance last night, so that shouldn't pose a problem.

Another in the running to complete the defensive jigsaw is Domonic Sterling.

Like new man Lee Charles and centre back partner Anthony Charles, Sterling spent good times with Brown at Hayes and was seen as the club's most consistent performer in his five-year spell at Church Road.

He was also named by Brown as the best player of the weekend when reflecting on victory in the Kingstonian pre-season tournament, which saw Aldershot collect silverware.

Sterling, 25, is actually a left-sided defender, but is strong, quick and mobile enough to convince Brown he could do a job in the Ryman League and is expected to sign on in the next few days.

Elsewhere, the weekend action has prompted Brown to make a couple of minor decisions about his midfield. In a nutshell, no new face is required, so ex-Chelsea man Mark Nicholls, who also scored in last night's win, has left the club for a second time.

However, the experienced Football in the Community coach Martin Kuhl, who enjoyed another 45 minutes action last night, will sign Ryman forms as cover.

Brown rounded up: "I am happy with my midfield at the moment though, which is why Mark Nicholls is not required. He has had offers elsewhere and I'm sure he will be a success.

"The trip to Havant is one we had every year at Hayes. It's a nice ground packed with nice people and a good side. It will be a good test for us as well because Havant will be playing with much the same side that played in the Hampshire Cup final.

"They would have known each other for a couple of years now while we are a brand new side." Kick off at Westleigh Park is 3pm.

TUESDAY'S TEAM: First half - Howells; Hooper, Sterling, Greene, Cousins, Chewins, Holsgrove, Carroll, D'sane, Gray, McEwen. Goals: Cousins, Gray, D'sane. H/T — 0-3.

Second half - Bull; Gell, A Charles, Kuhl, Kleboe, Nutter, Nicholls, Buckle, Parker, L Charles, Baird. Goal: Nicholls. F/T — 2-4.