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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 17:26 UK

Southampton complete Harding deal

Dan Harding
Defender Harding is a former England Under-21 international

Alan Pardew has made former Ipswich and Leeds defender Dan Harding his first signing as Southampton manager.

The 25-year-old has undergone a medical at St Mary's and has signed a two-year deal with the League One club.

The left-back, who had a trial at former club Brighton last week, was released by Ipswich in May and spent part of last season on loan at Reading.

"I am excited about the challenge of playing for Southampton this season," Harding told the club website.

He added: "There is a real buzz around the club following the takeover and appointment of Alan Pardew.

"I saw that over 22,000 fans turned up for the match against Ajax at the weekend and I can't wait to play in front of such passionate supporters and do my bit to help the club."

Pardew is set to make more signings as he looks to bolster his squad ahead of the Saints' promotion bid.

"I am delighted that Dan has chosen to join us and I feel he will become a valued member of our squad this season," commented Pardew.

"He brings with him the valuable experience of playing for the likes of Reading and Ipswich in the Championship and I am sure he will be a positive influence both in the dressing room and out on the pitch.

"We have a good group of players here at Southampton and I have been impressed with how they have applied themselves at training over the past couple of days.

"We are working hard to bolster the squad with further quality and I hope that Dan will be the first of a few new arrivals ahead of the season."



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