sport

Hughes hopes for Ireland deal

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes hopes midfielder Stephen Ireland will sign a new contract with the club soon.

Ireland has enjoyed something of a career resurgence since he joined the Potters, initially on loan from Aston Villa, last summer.

The 27-year-old made the deal permanent in January but was not eligible to play against his former side on Sunday as part of the deal that brought him to the Britannia Stadium.

He is only contracted to Stoke until the end of the season but Hughes is keen that will not be the case for much longer.

"We are very hopeful that something is going to be concluded very quickly," Hughes said after his side's 4-1 win at Villa Park.

"He was really disappointed he couldn't take part today but we hope it will be concluded.

"Stephen needs stability in his career.

"He hasn't had that for whatever reason and now he will at a club where he will be settled and have the impact his ability is able to have on a team."