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Stoke boss Hughes wants to keep Ireland

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes is keen to extend the contract of Stephen Ireland.

Ireland, who joined Stoke on a permanent basis in January after an initial loan spell from Aston Villa, is out of contract at the end of the season.

"It's my intention to try to keep Stephen here," Hughes told the Stoke Sentinel. "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."

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