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Stoke boss Hughes determined to get Ireland back to his best

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes is determined to get Aston Villa loan signing Stephen Ireland back to his best.

Hughes is evidently relishing the challenge of resurrecting the career of a player and a person he clearly rates.

"Stephen is a great talent, but unfortunately his career took a back step through no fault of his own.

"He needed to get out and get to a club where he could show people what he can do.

"He's coming to a good group that will embrace him and I think we will see that quickly.

"I've always had a lot of time for Stephen. I think he's a player who can effect games in the final third as a midfielder player - and they are few and far between.

"He's got a great engine, one of the best at Manchester City, and is always a goal threat.

"Coming here gives us another option in midfield, where we are looking really strong."

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