Stoke manager Mark Hughes hopes Stephen Ireland will join the club permanently

Stephen Ireland: Aston Villa midfielder is on loan at Stoke for the season

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Stoke manager Mark Hughes hopes on-loan Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland will make a permanent switch to the Britannia Stadium.

The former Manchester City playmaker is at the Potters for the season, but is ineligible when his parent club visit on Saturday.

Ireland has impressed in spells so far, particularly with a goal and an assist in this month's 3-2 victory over Chelsea.

Hughes said: "He's done very well for us and we're pleased with what he's producing.

"He's out of contract at the end of the season and it's fair to say I don't think Stephen thinks his future lies at Aston Villa. He will be moving somewhere. Ideally it would be to us."

The Potters boss confirmed Ireland is aware he is valued at Stoke, but when asked if he had held discussions on the player's future, Hughes said: "Only in passing, there's been no official talks as yet.

"Stephen's enjoying his time here and it's up to him to keep on playing well and impressing everybody here, which he has done up to this point."