Seasider Rob sails into Oakwell

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BARNSLEY have signed former Blackpool defender Rob Edwards on a two-year deal.

Edwards has joined the Reds as a free agent and has agreed a pre-contract agreement with his new deal officially starting on Friday, July 1.

“It’s great to have signed Rob, I’m really pleased to have got him,” Reds boss Keith Hill said. “He’s got pedigree, he’s been successful and he’s the ultimate professional. I knew there was a lot of interest from other clubs, but I took a back seat and bided my time to get him. He’s a recognised centre-back and has plenty of experience, he’s going to be a very important player for us.”

Edwards, 28, started his career with Aston Villa’s youth team before graduating to the senior ranks in 2002. Loan spells at Crystal Palace and Derby County followed before a £150,000 move to Wolverhampton Wanderers in July 2004. The 6ft 1” centre-back went on to play 111 times for Wolves between 2004-08 before penning a two-year contract with Blackpool in August of 2008.

In July last year Edwards signed a one-year contract extension with the Seasiders but found his chances limited with the club promoted to the Premier League, making just one appearance. And having becoming a free agent this summer it was hardly surprising the Wales international, who has played 15 times for his country, attracted interest from a string of clubs.

“Rob’s a very experienced player and has good football knowledge” said Hill. “There’s competition for places next season, which is what I want.”

Edwards and Stephen Foster, the only other recognised centre-back, are no expected to form the team’s first-choice central pairing, although the versatile Bobby Hassell, James McNulty and Jay McEveley, as well as central midfielder Miles Addison can all play at centre-back. Hassell and Scott Wiseman are set to contest the right-back position, with McEveley and McNulty fighting for a regular place at left-back.

Youngsters Kern Miller, who plays at centre back, and left-back Luke Potter - who can also play at centre-back - are further options for Hill, although the manager is expected to stick with experience.