Baggies seal deal for McAuley

The 31-year-old Northern Ireland international has put pen to paper

on a contract which will keep him at The Hawthorns until summer

2014. McAuley made nearly 100 appearances in three years with the

Tractor Boys and has won 28 caps for his country. Albion head coach

Roy Hodgson will be hoping his first signing of the summer will

help up to shore up his leaky defence. The Baggies conceded 71

goals in their 38 Premier League matches – an average of just under

two goals per game. McAuley will be tasting life in the top flight

for the first time, having previously played for Lincoln and

Leicester. Hodgson said: “We believe the time is right for him to

embark on a career in the Premier League after doing so well in the

Championship and for his country. “We are very happy, in the face

of lots of competition, to have acquired his services and persuaded

him to join us. “He is the Northern Ireland captain who knows

British football and he will be a very valuable addition to our

squad next year.” McAuley is currently preparing for his country’s

Carling Nations Cup matches against the Republic of Ireland and

Wales. He opted to leave Leicester for Ipswich after their

relegation to League One in 2008. In total he has made 295 career

appearances, scoring 25 goals.