Stoke in late bid to lure Boro target Given from Villa

Aidan Fitzmaurice

STOKE CITY plan to hijack a possible move by Middlesbrough for Ireland keeper Shay Given.

The 39-year-old has a year left on his contract with Aston Villa but is unlikely to get much game time in the Premier League next term as Brad Guzan is established as first choice and since his return to the national team squad, Given is desperate for regular firs team action to keep his place with Ireland.

Given is still highly-regarded ay Boro fro his loan spell there two seasons ago and boss Aitor Karanka had hoped to complete a deal for Given, the lure of a two-year deal at Boro a major attraction for the keeper.

"Shay was here, I know him, he knows me, so we are working and let's see," Karanka said yesterday.


But Stoke, in a sign that they expect to lose Asmir Begovic to Chelsea, have now expressed an interest in Given and the chance to stay in the Premier League would trump any offer from Championship outfit Boro, and Villa are unlikely to look for a fee for Given.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is well aware of Given's quality as he signed him for Manchester City in 2009.

Robbie Brady is also a man in demand with Norwich City now assessing their options after three bids for the Hull man were knocked back.

The Canaries, who can offer Brady Premier League football, have tabled a bid of £3million Hull have priced the Dubliner at £9m.

In other transfer news, Notts County have sealed a deal to sign Ireland U21 cap Graham Burke.

The striker was a free agent after he was let go by Villa and while Burke spent time training with Dundalk last month, he was keen to stay in England and Notts County, who had Burke on loan last season, were happy to sign the forward on a permanent basis, Burke landing a two-year deal.

Ex-QPR man Brian Murphy is still on trial at Huddersfield Town after his exit from Rangers while fellow keeper Ian McLoughlin, released by MK Dons, is having a trial with newly-promoted Bristol Rovers, and Dubliner Mark O'Brien is training with Luton Town after he was let go by Derby County.

QPR have again been linked with Dundalk star Richie Towell while Mick McCarthy could make another swoop on the League of Ireland.

Having signed Adam McDonnell and Dylan Connolly from Shelbourne last season, McCarthy is happy to keep tabs on the LOI and he was an interested spectator at Shamrock Rovers' win over Progres Niederkorn in the Europa League on Tuesday night, with Hoops attackers Mikey Drennan and Brandon Miele thought to be attracting attention.