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Gareth McAuley aims high after West Bromwich Albion deal

By Stuart McKinley

Published 16/06/2015

Staying put: Gareth McAuley has committed to West Brom
Staying put: Gareth McAuley has committed to West Brom

Gareth McAuley has set his sights on a treble after signing a new 12-month contract with West Bromwich Albion.

And one leg of that involves making history with Northern Ireland.

The 35-year-old was out of contract with the Baggies and although he was linked with a return to Leicester City, where he played from 2006-08, McAuley will play on at The Hawthorns for at least one more season.

And he has a list of achievements that he wants to meet at club level before playing for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 in France next summer.

"Having a positive season, possibly getting across the 50-point mark, which we haven't managed to do in the four seasons I've been here," said McAuley.

"It would be nice to have good cup runs, we were within touching distance last year, so it gives you the appetite to go and do that.

"With Northern Ireland we have a massive couple of months coming up at the start of next season where we have a chance to qualify for the European Championships.

"It's a massive carrot for myself and the rest of the lads there to first and foremost get playing at club level and doing well and taking that into the international scene and hopefully taking the country to France."

While McAuley is staying with West Brom, his fellow Northern Ireland international Chris Baird is now a free agent after being released by the club.

Striker Jamie Ward is also looking for a new team after being let go by Derby County. He has been linked with The Rams' local rivals Nottingham Forest and the 29-year-old is thinking about his international future as well as club level.

"The double header in September against the Faroe Islands and Hungary is now our main focus, take six points from that and we put ourselves in a great position to qualify," said Ward.

"However we know it's not going to be that simple, the Faroes have just beaten Greece again, so going there and taking all three points is going to be no easy task.

"Hungary too are starting to improve and their win in Finland has now put a little bit of pressure on us, but we just have to continue and focus on our performances."

  • Northern Ireland goalkeeper Trevor Carson has signed for Hartlepool United.

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