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Wilson says Potters are pushing for top-10 finish

Stoke defender Marc Wilson has stressed he and his team-mates are looking to sustain their recent form through to the end of the season with a view to securing the club's first-ever Premier League top-10 finish.

Saturday's 3-1 home win over West Ham means the Potters have lost only once in their last seven fixtures and they are currently 11th in the table, level on points with 10th-placed Aston Villa.

"The manager (Mark Hughes), staff and all the guys have been saying we want to keep this run going until the end of the season," said Wilson.

"We have eight games left now. All the lads are focused on picking up as many points as we can, and we want to finish in the top 10."

Stoke fell behind early on through Andy Carroll's header, but Peter Crouch's shot went in off Peter Odemwingie to level things around the half-hour mark and the Potters then wrapped up the win in the second half. Marko Arnautovic slotted in at the end of a good passing move before Odemwigie smashed home to round off a counter-attack.

Midfielder Stephen Ireland, back in the Stoke first XI as a replacement for the suspended Jon Walters, was a key player in the game, having a hand in all three of his team's goals.

PERMANENT

Ireland joined the Potters on a season-long loan from Aston Villa in September which was turned into a permanent deal in January.

And after Ireland's fine display on Saturday, Hughes said: "I know every time I bring Stephen into the team that he will give us quality and awareness of when to play the right pass, and he will always give you a goal threat too. I think (at previous clubs) he has been a victim of circumstances more than it being anything he has actually done himself.

"But his ability has always been there. I think now he is at a place where he knows he is appreciated and he knows he gets good work that will make him a better player."

Asked if Ireland would be with Stoke next season, Hughes added: "I hope so – that is our intention. It is something I think both parties want. We are trying to get it done."


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