Hodgson backing Billy The Kid

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West Brom head coach Roy Hodgson is backing Preston defender Billy Jones to make the step up from the Championship to the Premier League after signing the 24-year-old on a Bosman transfer.

Jones 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."

He added: "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.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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David Vaughan
Crewe Alexandra
Ipswich Town
West Bromwich Albion
Billy Jones
League One
Premier League
Preston North End
Gareth McAuley
Billy Jones

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