Former-Preston defender Jack Armer has become signing number six for the Blues as he joins the club on a one-year deal (with an option).
Armer, 19, a Scotland under-19 international, came through the ranks with his hometown club where he went on to captain the under-18 side.
Renowned for having a solid left foot, he has been utilised as a left-sided centre half and as a left back, and he enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with Lancaster where he earned a regular starting place in the team.
United boss Chris Beech said: “Jack's a really good signing for us, perhaps a work in progress.
“I was aware of him at Preston and we had a little look at him in January, not long after I'd come here. At the time we were at full capacity for loans, and Preston were only interested in loaning him out.
“He’d been out at Lancaster, playing men's football, and he did incredibly well. So much so that he was recalled by Alex Neil and added to their first team, making the bench.
“Fast forward a couple of months and the pandemic hits. Jack, along with all out-of-contract young players, suffered as a consequence from that when he possibly shouldn't have done, and he then found himself without a deal and available.”
“I know first-hand how highly-rated he was by the staff at Preston, including the manager Alex Neil,” he added. “Perhaps one day Jack will go on to be one of those that they feel they should have kept, which they'd say with their best wishes, but I'm delighted he's with us.
“Jack's a good size and he absolutely loves to tackle and compete for the ball. He’s left-footed, and good left-footed players are always a commodity.
“He’s played most of his career as a left-sided centre half or left back, he's mobile so he can get around the pitch, and he's a fit lad who enjoys running, so I also think he's got the potential to push on up the pitch, if it fits.”
“He's been capped for Scotland’s under-19 side and he’s been away with them in good company, which demonstrates his pedigree,” he concluded. “What I also like about Jack is his character.
“He’s another that's absolutely committed to his career, responding to the setback of not having another contract at Preston with that burning determination to prove himself and progress.
“He’s done huge amounts of training off his own back before we restarted, and I can't wait to get working with him on the training pitch and help to improve what is already very good.”