Henderson Hammers out permanent deal

Aidan Fitzmaurice

IRELAND hopeful Stephen Henderson says he's relieved to have made his loan move to West Ham permanent as he looks forward to Premier League football next season.

Henderson, 24, left cash-strapped Portsmouth and joined the Hammers in January on loan, but that deal has now been made long-term.

The former U21 cap didn't play for the Hammers in their successful push for promotion but was backup to Robert Green and he hopes to challenge for a spot in the top flight next season.

"I'm chuffed to bits to get it wrapped up, I'm a happy man," said Henderson, who was called into the senior Ireland squad for the friendly against the Czech Republic in February.

"It's been absolutely brilliant since I joined and it obviously topped it off on Saturday with us getting to the Premier League. The lads have been brilliant with me and made me feel welcome so I'm very happy.

"Considering the trouble I've had with Portsmouth and their relegation battle, I'm very lucky to be here and to be a Premier League goalkeeper, I hope," he added.

FORMER Ireland man Stephen Elliott is on the lookout for a new club after Scottish Cup winners Hearts confirmed that he won't be offered a new deal.

The ex-Sunderland and Manchester City forward helped Hearts to a 5-1 Cup final win over Pat Fenlon's Hibs on Saturday but it turns out that was his last game for the side as Hearts will not renew his contract.

"I have had a great couple of years here and to go out in that manner was just amazing.

"I'm leaving with a Scottish Cup winner's medal so I would have to say that my time here has been a success," said Elliott, capped nine times at senior level between 2004 and 2006.