Stoke City: Mark Hughes eyes extended Stephen Ireland stay

Stephen Ireland Stoke City

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Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has confirmed that he wants to offer midfielder Stephen Ireland a long-term deal at the club.

The 27-year-old made his loan move permanent during the January transfer window, but he has failed to hold down a first-team spot since and is out of contract in the summer.

He had impressed in the early part of the season, but Hughes has used other options as he tries to keep the Potters in the Premier League.

Stoke currently sit 13th in the table and with just six points separating them from 18th placed Sunderland, Ireland may be needed to help steer them away from danger.

Hughes is eager to extend his stay at the Britannia Stadium, and told the Stoke Sentinel: “It’s my intention to try to keep Stephen here.

“I’ve had a discussion with Stephen and want to make it permanent.

“He hasn’t played much of late, but that’s more to do with the form of other players.

“We’ve seen his quality in training and he is well regarded, with a good past history, and hopefully we can resolve that and make sure he’s here for a couple more seasons.”

Ireland will be hoping he is part of Hughes’ side when Stoke host West Ham next Saturday.

The Potters are 2.14 to win, with Sam Allardyce’s side 3.13 to take all three points.

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