Ireland close to new City deal
Mark Hughes has confirmed Stephen Ireland is close to agreeing a new long-term contract with Manchester City. The midfielder has been the Blues outstanding player this term, with many observers feeling he was unfortunate to be beaten to the PFA Young Player of the Year trophy by Aston Villa's Ashley Young. Further talks have taken place over a new deal, with Hughes optimistic the outcome will be positive. "We are very close with Stephen," he confirmed. "We had good discussions with him last week and there is intent on both sides." He added: "We want Stephen to be here for a considerable length of time and he has come out himself and said he wants to spend most of his career here, which was very heartening from our point of view. "As long as there are no hiccups, and I don't anticipate there will be, it will get done very quickly." Meanwhile, Hughes does not believe he is getting the praise he deserves for his first year's work at Manchester City. The Blues head to Tottenham on Saturday needing a victory to maintain their hopes of qualifying for next year's Europa League. Spurs are also in the same position, despite a tepid start to the campaign under Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp eventually being called in to sort the mess out. "If you look at all the managers in a similar position in the league to us, they seem to get a lot of plaudits," observed Hughes. "I don't get many. That is predictable and understandable I suppose. "Harry Redknapp has done a good job at Spurs. But I feel it is very similar to myself, it's just that he gets a bit more credit than I do."
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