Hodgson backing Billy the kid

Jones, 24, has put pen to paper on a three-year contract with the

Baggies after completing a medical. The former England Under-20

international was Preston’s player of the year last season despite

their relegation to League One. Hodgson said: “We’re really pleased

we’ve been able to secure his signature in the face of stiff

competition from other clubs for his services. “It is great that he

has chosen our club as the place to further his career and we are

looking forward to working with him. “We have been monitoring

Billy’s progress for some time and, like the player himself, we

believe this is the right moment for him to move up a level. “He

has been a very consistent performer in the Championship for a long

period and this is his chance to show he can be as good a player in

the Barclays Premier League.” Jones began his career with Crewe,

making his debut as a 16-year-old, before joining Preston on a

four-year deal in 2007 and has already clocked up more than 300

senior appearances in his career. He is Hodgson’s second signing of

the summer after Ipswich defender Gareth McAuley who also was a

Bosman capture. Hodgson will now continue his attempt to sign

Blackpool midfielder David Vaughan who is out of contract with the

Tangerines. He has already held preliminary talks with Albion and

is keen to remain close to his North Wales home. Sunderland and

Rangers have also been linked with Vaughan who has been offered a

new contract by Blackpool but is keen to continue playing in the

Barclays Premier League.