Football: Dunne deal as QPR sign former Villa star

Championship promotion favourites QPR bolstered their squad with the signing of former Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne on a free transfer on Monday.

Dunne was released by Villa boss Paul Lambert at the end of last season and the Republic of Ireland international has agreed to drop down a division after signing a one-year contract with QPR.

The 33-year-old centre-back is Harry Redknapp's second pre-season signing following the capture of Newcastle right-back Danny Simpson.

Dunne, who has also played for Everton and Manchester City, will compete with Clint Hill, Anton Ferdinand and Nedum Onuoha for a starting place as Redknapp looks to steer the club back to the Premier League at the first attempt following last season's relegation.

"I've been very close to signing for Harry on a couple of occasions and the opportunity to work with him really appealed to me. Players want to play for Harry and I'm no different," Dunne said.

"I've played in the Championship and won it with Manchester City, so hopefully my experience will benefit the team over the course of the season. It's a good challenge for me and one I'm very excited about."

Dunne struggled with injuries during his final two years at Villa and Redknapp admitted there is a clause in the defender's deal that means his contract can be cancelled if he doesn't stay fit.

"Obviously he had his problems last season with the injury but there's an agreement in place that if he breaks down, the contract can be ended," Redknapp said.

"He's confident he'll be okay and from our point of view, if he doesn't have any problems with it then we've just signed a very, very good centre-half."