Football: Dunne deal as Queens Park Rangers sign former Aston Villa defender

LONDON (AFP) - 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."