Stoke complete Martin swoop

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Stoke's bid for promotion to the Premiership has been handed a further boost, with news of Lee Martin having joined the club on loan until the end of the season.

The Manchester United wide man had a loan spell at Rangers earlier in the season and Stoke boss Tony Pulis has now moved quickly to set up a similar arrangement.

Martin, now 19, was brought to Old Trafford for £1million from Wimbledon when he was just 16 and has since gone on to make just a solitary competitive appearance for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

The signing of Martin follows on from the permanent capture of Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao on a free transfer.

Diao has been an integral player in the club's bid for promotion to the top flight, whilst on loan, and Pulis is delighted to have secured his services, albeit only until the end of the season.

"We've had a nervous few weeks trying to sort the paperwork to get Salif here," Pulis told the club's official website.

"But we are very relieved to finally get him here on a permanent basis.

"You only have to look at the amount of points we gathered while he was here to see what an important player he is to this football club."

Meanwhile, Stoke have confirmed defender Carl Hoefkens is in talks with Club Brugge over a return to his native Belgium.

The two clubs have concurred on a fee for the 28-year-old but it remains to be seen if Hoefkens can agree personal terms.