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Back in the big time: Reading reward Harte with one-year deal

The 34-year-old is set for a Premier League return after four years away.

Harte celebrates beating Southampton last month.
Harte celebrates beating Southampton last month.
Image: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

IT HAS BEEN four long years, but Ian Harte will taste Premier League football again next season.

The 34-year-old former Ireland international was an ever-present in the Reading team which won automatic promotion from the Championship but, with his current contract up this summer, it was uncertain whether he would be at the Berkshire club come August.

However, it was announced today that the full-back, who scored four goals and was named in the Championship Team of the Year for the second year running, has signed a new deal which will take him up to the summer of 2013.

Harte played 213 games for Leeds United between 1995 and 2004 before departing for Spanish side Levante. He failed to settle in La Liga and Roy Keane offered him a return to England with Sunderland in 2007.

The Louth native only made four appearances, however, and was released after a year. A brief stint with Blackpool was followed by a move to Carlisle United, where Harte rediscovered his form and caught the eye of the Royals.

“It’s a dream come true to go back to the Premier League,” Harte said on the club website.

Two years ago the manager took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to come to a fantastic club like Reading. And I’ve had two of the best years of my career here.

“I’m absolutely delighted. Now that it’s all sorted, I can go away and enjoy the summer, thoroughly look forward to next season and come back raring to go.”

Manager Brian McDermott added: “It’s a fantastic story, if you consider that two years ago Ian had been written off in certain quarters, and yet now he is a Premier League player again.

“That tells you everything you need to know about the person, the player, his resilience, his character, his determination and his quality. He still has that burning desire in training every day to play at the highest level. So I’m delighted that Ian has signed a new contract.”

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Ben Blake

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