MIDFIELDER Alex Lawless has left Forest Green to sign for York City, where he broke his leg in the penultimate game of last season.
The 26-year-old Welshman, who can also play at right-back, spent three seasons at the New Lawn and developed into a key player under the management of Jim Harvey.
His departure is another blow to Rovers, who have seen Darren Jones, Lee Fowler and Les Afful all opt for fresh challenges next term.
York manager Martin Foyle said: "I'm delighted to capture Alex's signature because I have been chasing him for some time.
"He is a great all-rounder, a technically good footballer and has a very professional attitude towards the game."
A trainee at Fulham, Lawless moved on to Torquay United before being snapped up by then Rovers boss Gary Owers in the summer of 2006.
It was under Harvey that he blossomed, excelling on the right of midfield during the 2007/08 season as the club finished a record eighth in the Blue Square Premier.
Injuries hampered his final campaign in Nailsworth, most notably a nagging back problem that was eventually cured by wearing insoles in his boots.
More bad luck came his way in the game at KitKat Crescent on April 21 when he suffered a hairline fracture of the fibia, although he is expected to be fully fit for the start of 2009/10.
Of last season's Forest Green squad, only Jonathan Smith, Conal Platt, Paul Lloyd and David Brown have so far agreed new contracts.