Report by John Edwards
Picture courtesy of Sligo Rovers
Phil Parkinson has solved Altrincham's problem right-back position by making experienced defender Lewis Banks his second signing of the summer.
Twenty-four hours after the announcement of striker Dior Angus' arrival at The J.Davidson Stadium, the club are able to unveil tough-tackling full-back Lewis as our second recruit of the close-season in a move that is subject to international clearance and FA and National League approval.
The 26-year old checked in to Alty's Egerton training ground fresh from a rescue mission with Arbroath, where he was brought in to help stave off the threat of relegation and played a key role in keeping Dick Campbell's team in the Scottish Championship after they fought out a 0-0 draw with Hamilton Accies on the final day.
Primarily a right-back, a position Alty have struggled to fill since the retirement of club legend Shaun Densmore, Lewis can also operate on the left of a back four and is noted for his defensive reliability and committed approach.
"Being vocal on the pitch probably is a characteristic of mine," he said. "You can see the whole game at full-back. It's all unfolding in front of you, so if something needs saying, I don't mind doing it.
"I would describe myself as a defender, first and foremost, mostly at right-back. I like defending and getting stuck in and I can win my share of headers, whether it be defending corners or free-kicks or pushing up in the opposition area. I like to think I can get up and down the flank as well, but it's in my nature to defend."
In welcoming him to The J.Davidson Stadium, Alty boss Phil said: "I’m delighted to capture the signing of Lewis - he’s a cultured right-back with a good family pedigree in the game.
"He’ll give us solidity and experience in a position and defensive unit we need. We’ve leaked too many goals and he’s coming in to help us improve on that front without losing the quality we have going forward.
"He’s a great age at 26 and had some brilliant experiences playing for Sligo for three season and Arbroath. These are very tough divisions which will have improved him no end since his Stoke City under-23 days.
"The biggest thing for me when going for Lewis was his obvious desire to play for Altrincham - he turned down more lucrative offers to come to us."
Potteries-born, Lewis captained his home club's under-21s and under-23s and was named under-23 player-of-the-year at the age of 21, Stoke's Academy coach marking the presentation by telling him: "You lead by example, and it is clear other players look up to you."
After a season at Stafford Rangers, he embarked on a highly-successful spell with Sligo Rovers in the League of Ireland Premier Division, where his 100-plus appearances included a wealth of European experience and a player-of-the-year award in his first season at the club in 2019.
He started in both legs of Sligo's 3-0 aggregate win over Motherwell in the Europa Conference League and played in four further ties before Sligo eventually bowed out to Viking Stavanger of Norway.
Though defending is his prime responsibility, he showed he has an eye for goal in the League of Ireland by twice popping up with a late winner, against Longford Town and Finn Harps.
His travels took him to Arbroath, between Dundee and Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland, in January, but he readily admitted he was glad to be closer to home after linking up with the Robins and preparing for the start of the 2023-24 season in the Vanarama National League.
Welcome to The J.Davidson Stadium, Lewis, and all the very best for a successful time in Alty colours.
*Watch out for more Alty news and updates tomorrow, with an Alty TV interview with Lewis being posted here on the club's website in the morning and all the details of another signing following later in the afternoon.