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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Ireland wanted Hughes reunion

Stephen Ireland hopes Mark Hughes will help him get his career back on track after being reunited with the Welshman at Stoke.

Last Updated: 03/09/13 at 12:11 Post Comment

Stephen Ireland: Hopes to be a regular starter at Stoke

Stephen Ireland: Hopes to be a regular starter at Stoke

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Ireland previously worked under Hughes at Manchester City and was delighted to link up with the Potters boss on a season-long loan from Aston Villa.

The 27-year-old midfielder has made just 57 appearances for Villa since joining from City in an £8m move three years ago and has not featured in the side since January.

Ireland hopes to become a regular starter for Stoke, but admits he must firstly prove his worth to Hughes.

"I had a great relationship with Mark at Manchester City and I was desperate to work with him and his staff again," he said.

"Mark knows how I play and how to get the best out of me.

"I just want to get a good run of games, which is something I haven't had for a while.

"I do feel as though I've something to prove and I'm coming here to get myself back playing.

"There are still lots of things I want to achieve. I've set myself a lot of goals and want to hit the ground running. I turned 27 last week and to me it's vital I'm playing on a regular basis.

"I'm so grateful to Stoke for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into training and building my career back up again."

Arnautovic assessed

Stoke also secured the deadline-day signing of Austria winger Marko Arnautovic for £2.6m from Werder Bremen.

Arnautovic has a reputation as a fiery character and was involved in bust-ups with the manager and a team-mate during his spell in Germany.

But chairman Peter Coates is confident that Hughes will be able to handle the two new recruits.

"Mark has been out to see (Arnautovic) in Germany and likes him," said Coates.

"He's got a bit of a chequered history on the personal side, but he is coming to a club with a squad of good professionals and that should be good for him.

"Certain clubs work for certain players and we are hoping he's going to be the striker who can score the goals for us because that has been one of our deficiencies.

"Friends of mine at Manchester City remember Ireland coming through the system there and he has since had his moments.

"His career seems to have gone in the wrong direction of late, but Mark knows the guy well and he certainly has a good pedigree as a player."

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