Derby County have completed the signing of Preston North End midfielder Paul Coutts.

Derby County have completed the signing of Preston North End midfielder Paul Coutts.

The 23-year-old, who turns 24 later this month, has put pen-to-paper on a three-year deal with the Rams which will keep him at Pride Park until the summer of 2015.

Derby have agreed to pay an undisclosed fee to the League 1 outfit for his services, and he will join up with his new team-mates for the first time on Monday morning at Moor Farm Training Ground.

Coutts becomes manager Nigel Clough's second signing of the summer following the arrival of highly-rated winger Michael Jacobs from Northampton Town last month.

He can operate in either the centre of the park or a wide midfield role and Derby have beaten off competition from a number of their Championship rivals to secure his signature.

Clough said: "We are delighted to secure the services of Paul and bring him to Pride Park, as he is someone who has been on our radar for some time.

"He is only 23, so he is still young, but he knows the division well from his time at both Peterborough and Preston - where he has always done well against us - and we're all really looking forward to working with him.

"He's got the potential to improve, but he is already more than capable of performing at Championship level and we believe he will be a very good addition to the squad."


New Signing: Paul Coutts is welcomed to Derby County by manager Nigel Clough

Coutts's career began with a stumbling block when he was rejected by Aberdeen as a 16-year-old, after spending a year in their youth set up.

However, he bounced back and went on to spend three years with fellow Scottish club Cove Rangers before moving to England in 2008 to join Darren Ferguson's Peterborough United after his progress was noticed south of the border.

Coutts spent 18 months at London Road, where featured in 60 games in total, and he played a key role in Posh's promotion from League 1 to the Championship in the 2008-09 campaign.

The very same year, Coutts was included in the Scotland under-21 squad and he has eight caps to his name although he is yet to make his bow for the senior side.

In January 2010 he signed a deadline day deal with Preston North End and was reunited with Ferguson, who moved to Deepdale a few months earlier after leaving Peterborough.

The energetic midfielder bagged his first goal for the Lillywhites in the side's 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday two months after signing for the Lancashire outfit, and was handed the captaincy last year by then interim manager David Unsworth.

In total he appeared 86 times for Preston, scoring on five occasions.