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Ireland is confident of Potters contract


STEPHEN IRELAND is confident he can agree terms on a long-term contract with Stoke City when his current deal runs out in the summer.

Still only 27, Ireland said his career has been revived under Mark Hughes since he joined Stoke on loan from Aston Villa, the Cork native insisting that he is still "hungry" to succeed and he wants to join Stoke on a long-term basis when his current deal runs out in the summer.

"We're in talks. They've been going on for a while but there's no pressure from the club at the moment.

"There's no major rush right now. I think something will be done pretty soon," said Ireland.

"I would have done anything to get the chance to come here. I'm really grateful that I have. I'm 27 and there's so much more I want to do in football.

"I'm still exactly the same player. I've always had a lot to offer, I've always been enthusiastic and hungry.

"But the Villa thing is a really long, strange story, purely because I had five managers in two-and-a-half seasons.


"For some reason, as soon as they walked through the door, they decided I wasn't for them – no matter about all my good intentions. It didn't matter," added Ireland, who was scouted by Roy Keane as the Ireland assistant manager took in Stoke's 1-0 win against Hull City on Saturday.

"In the summer, it was difficult for me to know where I was going to be. Would I be playing in the Championship? Would I be going on loan?

"My time at Villa wasn't very nice, you're going to lose a bit of passion when you train on your own for six months.

"When you're on your own with a football for that amount of time, you wonder what direction you're going to go in.

"What direction can you go in? My hands were tied. Thankfully I've come here and things are starting to go well.

"I just thank Stoke for bringing me in and taking care of me. I want to repay them with my performances."