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Hodgson confident of McAuley deal
Published : 23 May 2011 10:00:10
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson believes defender Gareth McAuley will be "a very valuable addition" to his squad as he begins rebuilding for next season.
McAuley will be available on a free transfer on the expiry of his contract at Ipswich and is poised to make the move to the Hawthorns in the next few days. It is hoped the arrival of the 31-year-old, who has won 28 caps for Northern Ireland, will bolster a defence which leaked 71 goals in the Barclays Premier League this season.
Hodgson said: "He's another centre-half, the Northern Ireland captain who knows British football and he will be a very valuable addition to our squad next year. We are in discussions with the player and his agent and are confident something will be finalised in the coming week."
McAuley will enjoy his first taste of life in the top flight if he joins the Baggies.
He made just under 100 appearances for Ipswich during a three-year spell having previously played for Lincoln and Leicester.
Meanwhile, Hodgson has to decide whether to take up a 12-month option on defender Abdoulaye Meite, who will otherwise be out of contract next month.
Meite was recalled to the side when Hodgson took charge three months ago but has been out of form in recent weeks and was taken off at half-time against Newcastle on Saturday.
Albion also have options they can take up on fringe players Marek Cech, Gianni Zuiverloon and Giles Barnes.