MIDFIELDER Lee Cox is returning to Home Park as Argyle manager John Sheridan’s first summer signing.The 23-year-old, who enjoyed a successful ten-game loan spell at Home Park from Swindon Town in 2012-13, has agreed a two-year deal after being released by the Sky Bet League 1 Robins.
His capture represents a third major recruitment boost for the Pilgrims after goalkeeper Luke McCormick and defender Curtis Nelson both recently put pen to paper on new deals.
Lee first came to Home Park in February 2013, signing on loan from Swindon for the second half of the season before last.
He made a winning start in a 2-1 victory at Aldershot, where fellow new loan signing Jason Banton stole the headlines, and played nine further times as the Pilgrims clawed their way to Football League survival.
By the time his loan was cut short by a shoulder ligament injury sustained in another valuable win, the 1-0 Devon Expressway Derby home triumph over Exeter, he had taken part in five wins and two draws.
More than a few observers suggested that his earlier-than-scheduled return to the County Ground was a key factor in Argyle’s relegation battle going as far the season’s final match, as they lost four of their final six matches without him.
After recovering from his injury, Lee returned to action last October, coming on a substitute for Swindon in their home 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Argyle.
He had to wait until March before making his 2013-14 league bow, again as a substitute, in Town’s 2-1 victory at Tranmere.
That signalled a run of four successive starts, the highlight of which was the 1-0 Easter Monday win over Bradford City at the County Ground, when Lee scored the only goal of the game, and his only goal as a Swindon player.
Leicester-born Lee came to prominence with his hometown club’s youth side, winning the FA Premier Academy League in 2006-07. Despite that, and a successful loan spell at Yeovil Town, he failed to break into the Leicester first team and was let go at the end of the 2008-09 season.
He signed for Scottish First Division Inverness Caledonian Thistle and played all but three of Thistle’s league games as they won promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2010.
After being a regular for Thistle in the SPL, he joined Paulo Di Canio’s Swindon and made seven appearances as Town won the League 2 title.
He was loaned to local rivals Oxford United on a six-month loan deal at the start of the 2012-13 and played 14 games. They included, in December, United’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area quarter-final penalty shoot-out win at Argyle who he joined weeks later.