Hughes ready to offer lifeline to Villa flop
Stoke City are being linked with a summer swoop for Aston Villa flop Stephen Ireland after he was made surplus to requirements.
The midfielder's time at Villa looks to be up and boss Paul Lambert is open to offers for the Irishman, who has struggled to find any sort of form following his move from Manchester City in 2010.
The 26-year-old, who made just nine Premier League starts for Lambert's men last term, is likely to be available for a cut-price fee - possibly as little as £3million.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes oversaw the best spell of Ireland's career when he was in charge of Man City and believes he could revive his career at the Britannia Stadium.
Everton and Championship side Brighton are also tracking the midfielder.