Lee Hughes: Ex-Notts County striker joins Port Vale

Lee Hughes

Notts County striker Lee Hughes has joined League Two promotion chasers Port Vale until the end of the season.

Hughes, 36, was on the verge of joining Vale on transfer deadline day, but the paperwork was not completed in time.

But after passing a medical, the former roofer - whose Notts contract was cancelled by mutual consent on Monday - has now signed a short-term deal at Vale, with the option of another year.

"It's a real coup that we have managed to sign him," said boss Micky Adams.

"Lee has scored goals at all levels.

"The squad have done fantastically well already this season and I believe his signing will give us even more strength in depth and experience, as well as another option in the final third."

Hughes becomes Adams' third signing of the January window, and all three are vastly experienced, midfielder Chris Birchall's return to Vale Park having preceded the signing of 35-year-old defender Darren Purse.

Smethwick-born Hughes began his career with Kidderminster Harriers in 1995, before making his name with West Bromwich Albion to earn a big-money £5m move to newly-relegated Coventry City in August 2001.

After being brought back by Albion, who he helped to promotion to the Premier League in 2002, he was sent to prison in August 2004 after being involved in a car crash that caused the death of a passenger in the other car.

But, after three years out of action, he then returned to football and proved a regular marksman in the lower divisions with Oldham and Notts County, who he joined in the summer of 2009.

Hughes made 146 appearances for Notts, scoring 66 goals and was a key figure in the team that won the League Two title in 2009/2010. But he has struggled to win a regular place this season, starting just eight games.

And now Adams wants to bring him in to add impetus to a Vale attack which has occasionally misfired this term - especially in home games.

He goes straight into the Vale squad for Saturday's top-of-the-table trip to League Two leaders against Gillingham.

"I love playing football," continued Hughes. "I'm grateful to Micky Adams and Paul Wildes for allowing me this exciting new opportunity."