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Gareth McAuley to sign for West Brom

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson last night confirmed that he is close to signing Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley.

Having turned down the offer of a new contract at Ipswich Town McAuley is expected to secure Premier League football for the first time in his career and a deal with the Baggies could be officially announced as early as today.

“It is likely that he will sign,” said Hodgson.

“Nothing has been concluded yet but we are in discussions with Gareth McAuley and his agent so it is likely that something will be finalised during the week.”

McAuley met up with the Northern Ireland squad in Dublin last night ahead of tomorrow evening’s Carling Nations Cup meeting with the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

He will be the oldest player in Nigel Worthington’s team — and is expected to captain the side — with another teenager called-up yesterday.

Manchester City defender Ryan McGivern pulled out on advice from his club to be replaced by Oldham Athletic youngster Carl Winchester.

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Eighteen-year-old Winchester only made his debut for the Northern Ireland under-19 team last month, but he has played half a dozen games in the Oldham first-team which has helped him earn his first senior call-up.

e LINFIELD are to host Rangers in a friendly at Windsor Park on Saturday July 16. The match is planned as part of Linfield’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

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