NEWPORT'S Chris Gunter is heading back to the big time after he signed for Premier League new boys Reading yesterday in a £2.3m deal from Nottingham Forest.

The move sees the Wales international right-back play in the English game’s top flight for a second time after moving from Cardiff City to join Tottenham Hotspur in January 2008.

Gunter joins the Royals on a three-year contract with the option of a further year.

Yesterday saw Reading complete the signing of another defender when Watford centre-back Adrian Mariappa also joined them on a three-year deal.

Reading chairman Sir John Madejski said of the double signings: “This has been quite a day for our club and I would now like to offer a very warm welcome to Chris Gunter.

“With both him and Adrian signing, we have added two excellent young players, and they both fit into our ethos in terms of mentality, stature and their standing in the game. They both have their best footballing years ahead of them, and Chris already has experience for his country as well.

“I am sure our supporters will join me in wishing him the very best of luck.”