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Chris Baird moves to Derby

last updated Friday 19th June 2015, 10:59 PM

Fulham defender Chris Baird
Former Fulham defender
Chris Baird
Chris Baird
Derby County have signed Northern Ireland international Chris Baird on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old was released by West Bromwich Albion at the end of last season.

The versatile defender has put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Rams, with the option of a further 12 months.

Baird, who can operate at right-back, centre-half or as a defensive midfielder, has more than 300 career appearances under his belt.

Just over half of those have come in the Premier League - for West Brom, Fulham and Southampton.

He also has 72 caps for his country and started the recent Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania in Belfast, which ended in a goalless draw.

"We're very pleased to welcome a player of Chris Baird's experience to Derby County," said Rams head coach Paul Clement.

"He is an excellent professional and he is an important addition for us, both on the pitch and also in the dressing room.

"This is another extremely positive signing for us and we're very pleased with the business that we have conducted in the transfer market so far this summer."

Baird started out at Ballymena United before being offered the chance to join Southampton in 1998.

He made his senior debut in 2003 and went on to play 79 times for the Saints, who also loaned him out for spells with Walsall and Watford.

He was named Southampton's player of the year in 2006-07 and this form earned him a £3m move to Fulham in the summer of 2007.

Baird made 165 appearances for the Cottagers, during which time he helped them reach the 2010 Europa League final, where they were beaten 2-1 by Atletico Madrid.

He was released at the end of the 2012-13 season and later joined Reading on a short-term deal, making his debut in a 3-1 win at Derby.

Baird left the Royals in January 2014, after nine appearances, and was signed by Burnley for the closing stages of their Championship campaign.

He played seven times for the Clarets, helping them secure promotion to the Premier League.

At the end of the season, he joined West Brom on a one-year deal and made 24 appearances for the Baggies in all competitions last term.

Baird, who has captained club and country in the past, becomes Derby's second signing in the space of 24 hours

Source C Watson at Derby Telegraph
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