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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 01:11 GMT
Saints seal Higginbotham deal
Danny Higginbotham in action for Derby
Higginbotham is valued at 2.5m by Derby
Southampton have completed the signing of Derby defender Danny Higginbotham for 1.5m.

Higginbotham is Southampton's second deadline day signing after David Prutton joined from Nottingham Forest.

Saints chairman Rupert Lowe told the club's official website, www.saintsfc.co.uk: "It has been a very busy day but I think these two deals show we are not content merely to rest on our laurels.

"We always felt that the two signings would go right to the wire but it was a case of doing both deals on our terms.

"Both are quality players of a good age who will add depth to the squad and will be very useful additions.

"But it will be a real battle for anyone to get into the current team.

"It increases competition for places and will give us a push for the final games of the season having worked hard to get into a position where we can look up rather than down.

"For our club, these are major signings and it is important for the team to maintain their levels of performance to keep the club moving forward."

The 24-year-old former Manchester United player had 18 months remaining on his contract at Pride Park and cash-strapped Derby have opted to cash in on him now.

County secretary Keith Pearson told the club's official website, www.dcfc.co.uk: "John Gregory has been particularly supportive in facilitating Danny's move and throughout this transfer period he has understood the need to realise cash on the sale of players.

"This week's activity will enable him to look at adding to his squad."

Higginbotham follows Malcolm Christie and Chris Riggott out of Derby, who have signed for Middlesbrough.

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