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    #46
    irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Sunday, April 25, 2010, 14:44
    <H1>Milner penalty keeps Villa in hunt for fourth</H1>
    <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


    <S&#079;NG>Aston Villa 1 Birmingham 0:</S&#079;NG>James Milner scored a late penalty to keep Aston Villa in the hunt for a Champions League spot with a narrow derby win over Birmingham at Villa Park.





    The England midfielder converted from the spot in the 83rd minute after Blues defender Roger Johnson had been adjudged to have brought down Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor.


    Villa are now level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham although they have played a game more and have an inferior goal difference.


    Martin O’Neill named an unchanged side for the encounter, keeping faith with the side which triumphed at Hull in midweek.


    Blues suffered a setback with central defender Scott Dann ruled out by a pulled calf, meaning former Villa player Liam Ridgewell switched from left back back into the middle and Gregory Vignal earned a rare start.


    Birmingham manager Alex McLeish also recalled midfielder Sebastian Larsson in place of Keith Fahey.


    The visitors were operating with a 4-5-1 formation with Cameron Jerome employed as the only out and out striker.


    Lee Bowyer conceded an early free-kick against Milner but the centre from Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov was headed by James Collins straight into the arms of Joe Hart.


    The first half-chance fell to Birmingham after nine minutes when Bowyer picked out the run of Larsson.


    The Sweden international flicked the ball wide of Brad Friedel but his shot from a narrow angle failed to hit the target.


    Richard Dunne went off for treatment to a head injury and returned with it bandaged up.


    Blues players were quick to put the challenges in on their opponents and appeared upset with some of referee Martin Atkinson’s decisions. Skipper Stephen Carr, Johnson and Barry Ferguson all made their feelings known to the official.


    Petrov then needed treatment after being pole-axed when defending a powerful free-kick from Larsson.


    Hart was called into meaningful action for the first time when he turned aside a 20-yard effort from Petrov.


    The England keeper also reacted well to keep out a powerful 25-yard shot from Stewart Downing.


    But a mistake by Dunne almost presented City with the opener. The central defender allowed a throw out from Friedel to slip under his foot straight into the path of Larsson only for the Swede to try to sidefoot the ball into the net and Friedel was able to recover.


    Friedel then parried away a 25-yard effort from Craig Gardner before Hart made a magnificent save to keep his side on level terms.


    Collins connected perfectly with his volley from 12 yards but Hart somehow managed to fingertip the ball over.


    Birmingham, who have lost the last five meetings with Villa, began the second half in confident fashion and came close on three occasions to breaking the deadlock.


    Ferguson’s through-ball was perfect for Jerome to run on to and Friedel made a superb block on his shot from close range.


    The loose ball fell to James McFadden and the Scotland international cut back inside before having a shot deflected past the post.


    The resulting corner from Larsson picked out the run of Ridgewell whose header was cleared off the line by Downing.


    Carlos Cuellar became the first player to be booked after 53 minutes for a challenge on Jerome and two minutes later Vignal was also yellow-carded for fouling Downing.


    The best chances continued to fall City’s way and Friedel made another superb save to deny Bowyer from close range after Gardner’s initial shot had been blocked.


    Dunne headed over from Milner’s centre but Villa were struggling to make an impact.


    With 20 minutes remaining, O’Neill decided to make his first change with Emile Heskey replacing the ineffective John Carew.


    McLeish re

    Comment


      #47
      Thank you all[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]
      Stand up and fight

      Comment


        #48
        irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Monday, April 26, 2010, 15:29
        <H1>City to seek goalkeeper on loan</H1>
        <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


        Manchester City have made a formal request to the Premier League to be allowed to sign an emergency goalkeeper on loan after Shay Given dislocated his shoulder against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday.


        The damage to Given’s shoulder will be assessed further when he sees two specialists in the next 72 hours, but the Donegalman is certainly out for the rest of the season and the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming friendly games against Paraguay and Algeria.


        With three Premier League games remaining, the club's request will be considered by the Premier League Board.


        City cannot bring Joe Hart back from Birmingham because there is a 'no-recall clause' in his season-long loan deal.


        “Joe Hart is staying for the rest of the season. We have had no contact with Manchester City,” said Blues manager Alex McLeish today.


        City's number two goalkeeper, Stuart Taylor, is still not fit after a knee operation and third-choice David Gonzalez is still suffering from a groin injury.


        It leaves Faroe Islands international Gunnar Nielsen, who replaced Given at the weekend for his first senior appearance, as next in line and academy player Loris Karius providing cover.


        Speaking to www.mcfc.co.uk today, Hart revealed he is “devastated” for Given.


        “I texted him on Saturday. I do not want that to happen to anyone, especially someone like him - a great keeper and really good person.


        “All I can do is wish him a speedy recovery and that he is back between the sticks again as soon as possible.”

        Comment


          #49


          This story is from rte.ie/sport/soccer
          <H1>Stephen Carr faces police probe</H1>


          Tuesday, 27 April 2010 09:36


          Birmingham defender Stephen Carr is the subject of a police investigation after allegations he made gestures towards Aston Villa fans at the end of Sunday's derby clash at Villa Park.



          The Football Association have confirmed they are aware of the incident and will study referee Martin Atkinson's match report and other evidence before deciding whether to take action.



          Carr and the Blues players were left incensed by the award of a controversial late penalty to Villa which doomed the St Andrew's club to a 1-0 defeat.

          <DIV id=story_island></DIV>


          The former Republic of Ireland international was at the centre of the protests and it is alleged he made a gesture towards Villa fans as he left the pitch.



          A police spokesman told the Birmingham Mail: 'West Midlands Police have received a complaint regarding an offensive gesture allegedly made by a player at the end of the Aston Villa-Birmingham City match on Sunday.



          'The matter is currently being investigated by detectives and inquiries are ongoing.'



          A Football Association spokesman said: 'We are aware of the incident and will be looking at the referee's report and other available evidence before we decide what to do.'



          A City spokesman said: 'We are aware of the incident and we are looking at it internally.'



          If the FA decide to take action, 33-year-old Carr, who was persuaded last season to come out of retirement by Birmingham manager Alex McLeish, could face a suspension or a fine.

          Comment


            #50
            Originally posted by ormond lad
            irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Monday, April 26, 2010, 15:29
            <H1>City to seek goalkeeper on loan</H1>
            <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


            Manchester City have made a formal request to the Premier League to be allowed to sign an emergency goalkeeper on loan after Shay Given dislocated his shoulder against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday.


            The damage to Given’s shoulder will be assessed further when he sees two specialists in the next 72 hours, but the Donegalman is certainly out for the rest of the season and the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming friendly games against Paraguay and Algeria.


            With three Premier League games remaining, the club's request will be considered by the Premier League Board.


            City cannot bring Joe Hart back from Birmingham because there is a 'no-recall clause' in his season-long loan deal.


            “Joe Hart is staying for the rest of the season. We have had no contact with Manchester City,” said Blues manager Alex McLeish today.


            City's number two goalkeeper, Stuart Taylor, is still not fit after a knee operation and third-choice David Gonzalez is still suffering from a groin injury.


            It leaves Faroe Islands international Gunnar Nielsen, who replaced Given at the weekend for his first senior appearance, as next in line and academy player Loris Karius providing cover.


            Speaking to www.mcfc.co.uk today, Hart revealed he is “devastated” for Given.


            “I texted him on Saturday. I do not want that to happen to anyone, especially someone like him - a great keeper and really good person.


            “All I can do is wish him a speedy recovery and that he is back between the sticks again as soon as possible.”


            irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 09:39
            <H1>Hart not expecting return to City</H1>
            <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


            Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is expecting to remain on loan at Birmingham for the remainder of the season. Roberto Mancini’s side have been plunged into a keeper crisis after Shay Given dislocated his shoulder against Arsenal, with Stuart Taylor already injured.





            It leaves them with Faroe Islands international Gunnar Nielsen as their only available senior goalkeeper, sparking reports the Eastlands club will try to get Hart back for the final two games of the campaign.


            But, while having sympathy for Given, Hart does not anticipate returning to his parent club until the summer.


            When asked about reports that City may try and recall him, Hart said: “It is nothing to do with me.


            “I am devastated for Shay. I texted him. You don’t want that to happen to anyone, especially someone like him, a really great keeper and a good person.


            “All I can do is wish him a speedy recovery and hope he gets back between the posts as quickly as possible.


            “The loan? As far as I know, that’s the way it is. I will be staying here.


            “I really enjoy what I’m doing with the boys at Birmingham and in training and just try to repay their efforts with my performances.”


            Birmingham boss Alex McLeish insisted after Sunday’s derby with Aston Villa that he anticipates Hart remaining with the midlands club until May.


            McLeish has already intimated that he wants to sign Hart for another season and believes the player would find it “difficult” if he has to return as number two to Given next season.

            Comment


              #51
              irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 11:49
              <H1>West Brom turn down Hammers' bid for Dorrans</H1>
              <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


              West Brom have swiftly rebuffed a written offer from West Ham in the region of €4.6million for Scotland international Graham Dorrans, the midlands club have confirmed.





              The talismanic midfielder, 22, has been the heartbeat of Albion’s successful promotion charge from the Coca-Cola Championship this season and was voted the second best player outside the top flight at the recent Football League Awards.


              And such is the club’s determination to hold onto their prize asset that they have moved quickly and strongly to rejected a sizeable offer from the Hammers, whose own Premier League status was confirmed at the weekend.


              The Baggies can expect a lot of interest in Dorrans over the summer with several top-flight clubs linked with a move for his services.


              But chairman Jeremy Peace insists he is not for sale, saying: “As I have stressed several times since we achieved promotion over two weeks ago, our aim now is to retain our core players and try to strengthen our squad around them.


              “I want to make it clear again that Graham Dorrans is not for sale.”

              Comment


                #52
                irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 10:58
                <H1>Carsley looking for new club</H1>
                <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


                <S&#079;NG>Soccer:</S&#079;NG>Former Republic of Ireland international Lee Carsley will leave Birmingham at the end of the season. The midfielder has spent two years at St Andrew’s but has now decided to look for new challenges.





                Carsley has been a regular in the Birmingham side since moving to his home-town club from Everton in 2008.


                “I would like to announce that I will be leaving Birmingham City Football Club at the end of this season,” said the 36-year-old in a statement. “I came to the club to help them back into the Premiership and then to stay there.


                “I have had two fantastic years at the Blues and I would like to thank the management and the fans for all their support. I will now look to help another club achieve success and I relish another challenge.”


                Carsley played a key part in Birmingham’s promotion campaign last season, helping them to runners-up spot in the Championship, and was voted players’ player of the year.


                He was also named team captain last year. However, he has struggled with an ankle injury this season which has restricted him to just a handful of Premier League appearances.

                Comment


                  #53
                  irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Friday, April 30, 2010, 10:42
                  <H1>Relegated Burnley could qualify for Europe</H1>
                  <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


                  <S&#079;NG>Soccer:</S&#079;NG>Fulham’s progress to the Europa League final has given relegated Burnley an unexpected boost. Should Roy Hodgson’s side lift the trophy they would qualify as holders next season, meaning Burnley would be in pole position in the Fair Play League.





                  And with England placed third in UEFA’s most recent continental fair play table, the Premier League would be granted the final additional spot in the Europa League first qualifying round.


                  With Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea all set to qualify for Europe via their league placing, only Fulham are ahead of the Clarets in the table — with nothing to stop relegated clubs taking up the European place on offer.


                  Burnley manager Brian Laws said: “There is an outside chance and that depends on how Fulham go on. If they win the competition we have a chance of slipping in there.


                  “That would be fantastic for the club and the town. It is a long shot but we will wait and see what happens.”

                  Comment


                    #54


                    This story is taken from the rte website
                    <DIV =storyer>
                    <H1>Crowd trouble at Oriel Park to be investigated</H1>Tuesday, 4 May 2010 12:45 </DIV>
                    <DIV =story><?:namespace prefix = rte ns = "urn:rte-search" /><rte:>


                    Airtricity League of Ireland director Fran Gavin said that League officials will co-operate with Gardaí investigating incidents involving Shamrock Rovers fans at Oriel Park last night.


                    The match, won 2-1 by Dundalk, was disrupted by visiting Rovers fans following the dismissal of Rovers player James Chambers and manager Michael O'Neill with 10 minutes to go.


                    The trouble included bottles and pieces of wood being thrown onto the pitch and lead to dog assisted Gardaí and stewards confronting the travelling support.
                    <DIV id=story_island></DIV>


                    Speaking to RTÉ Sport's Des Cahill on Morning Ireland, Gavin said: 'I was at the fixture myself. Unfortunately, it happened at the end of what really was a fantastic game and both sides were magnificent.



                    'We'll hold a full investigation. We have requested the TV footage already and we are awaiting the reports from the match delegate and the referee and we'll be talking to both clubs and the Gardaí.'



                    The incident was sparked by the double sending off of Chambers and O'Neill, but Gavin said that refereeing decisions had to be accepted by teams and fans.


                    Gavin said: 'The nature of the game is that somebody will be disappointed (by refereeing decisions). No decision by a referee warrants what I witnessed last night. It is disappointing to say the least.'


                    Asked about whether individuals who were identifiable from TV footage and photography, he continued: 'Shamrock Rovers are owned by the supporters and they have worked very closely with their supporters and have been a model club in that area and have worked well in the community.


                    'I'm sure the people in charge of Shamrock Rovers will get what was a small group of individuals in what was a very large travelling support. The rest behaved themselves very well on the night.'


                    Asked about the possibility of an investigation by the Gardaí, Gavin said: 'That's a matter for the guards, who we will be talking to today. We work very closely with the guards, particularly around these big fixtures where our crowds have gone up in the League.'


                    He added: 'I know Shamrock Rovers would condemn any bad behaviour by so-called Shamrock Rovers supporters.'


                    Meanwhile, Rovers manager Michael O'Neill said that while he did not see the crowd trouble, he did not approve of it although he felt Chambers should not have been sent off in the first place.


                    Speaking to RTÉ Sport's John Kenny, he said: 'I didn't think James deserved to be sent off and I just wanted to console him.


                    'The fourth official; these people make big deals out of nothing and if that's a red card offence I think it is taking a bit of the passion and emotion out of the game.'


                    Commenting on the crowd trouble, O'Neill added: 'I didn't see that, and I can't condone that. There's no way that that should be the case. I just thought it was a poor decision. Maybe I shouldn't have left the technical area but, believe me, there's worse things going on in this league. It was disappointing all round.''


                    He added: 'I didn't see that (the crowd trouble) because I had obviously left the field at that time but of course the club doesn't condone that kind of behaviour.'</rte:></DIV>

                    Comment


                      #55
                      <H1>Benitez wants to stay, says agent [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]</H1>
                      <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


                      Rafael Benitez's agent claims the Liverpool boss has still not received any offers from Juventus or any other club and wants to stay at Anfield. Speculation in England and Italy has linked Benitez to a move to Turin and the 50-year-old is believed to be the number one candidate to succeed coach Alberto Zaccheroni this summer.Benitez is also a reported target of Real Madrid, but his agent today insisted the Spaniard does not intend to leave Liverpool.


                      "We have not received any offers from any club," Manuel Garcia Quilon said. "Benitez's aim is to remain at Liverpool and try to help the team improve with new owners.


                      "He is under contract and his wish is to remain at Liverpool."


                      The Spaniard, who is under contract at Anfield until June 2014, has a meeting scheduled with new Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton this week to discuss the plans being put in place for next season.


                      Broughton, the chairman of British Airways, has been brought in by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to oversee the sale of the club.


                      Last weekend's 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea ended Liverpool's hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.


                      Juve will also miss out on playing in Europe's elite club competition as they have no chance of finishing in the top four in Serie A.
                      \" 220 horses, i gotta gun, a siren, a tank full of city gas....DON\'T YOU LOVE IT\"

                      Comment


                        #56
                        Originally posted by ormond lad


                        This story is taken from the rte website
                        <DIV ="storyer">
                        <H1>Crowd trouble at Oriel Park to be investigated</H1>Tuesday, 4 May 2010 12:45 </DIV>
                        <DIV ="story"><?:namespace prefix = rte ns = "urn:rte-search" /><RTE:>


                        Airtricity League of Ireland director Fran Gavin said that League officials will co-operate with Gardaí investigating incidents involving Shamrock Rovers fans at Oriel Park last night.


                        The match, won 2-1 by Dundalk, was disrupted by visiting Rovers fans following the dismissal of Rovers player James Chambers and manager Michael O'Neill with 10 minutes to go.


                        The trouble included bottles and pieces of wood being thrown onto the pitch and lead to dog assisted Gardaí and stewards confronting the travelling support.
                        <DIV id=story_island></DIV>


                        Speaking to RTÉ Sport's Des Cahill on Morning Ireland, Gavin said: 'I was at the fixture myself. Unfortunately, it happened at the end of what really was a fantastic game and both sides were magnificent.



                        'We'll hold a full investigation. We have requested the TV footage already and we are awaiting the reports from the match delegate and the referee and we'll be talking to both clubs and the Gardaí.'



                        The incident was sparked by the double sending off of Chambers and O'Neill, but Gavin said that refereeing decisions had to be accepted by teams and fans.


                        Gavin said: 'The nature of the game is that somebody will be disappointed (by refereeing decisions). No decision by a referee warrants what I witnessed last night. It is disappointing to say the least.'


                        Asked about whether individuals who were identifiable from TV footage and photography, he continued: 'Shamrock Rovers are owned by the supporters and they have worked very closely with their supporters and have been a model club in that area and have worked well in the community.


                        'I'm sure the people in charge of Shamrock Rovers will get what was a small group of individuals in what was a very large travelling support. The rest behaved themselves very well on the night.'


                        Asked about the possibility of an investigation by the Gardaí, Gavin said: 'That's a matter for the guards, who we will be talking to today. We work very closely with the guards, particularly around these big fixtures where our crowds have gone up in the League.'


                        He added: 'I know Shamrock Rovers would condemn any bad behaviour by so-called Shamrock Rovers supporters.'


                        Meanwhile, Rovers manager Michael O'Neill said that while he did not see the crowd trouble, he did not approve of it although he felt Chambers should not have been sent off in the first place.


                        Speaking to RTÉ Sport's John Kenny, he said: 'I didn't think James deserved to be sent off and I just wanted to console him.


                        'The fourth official; these people make big deals out of nothing and if that's a red card offence I think it is taking a bit of the passion and emotion out of the game.'


                        Commenting on the crowd trouble, O'Neill added: 'I didn't see that, and I can't condone that. There's no way that that should be the case. I just thought it was a poor decision. Maybe I shouldn't have left the technical area but, believe me, there's worse things going on in this league. It was disappointing all round.''


                        He added: 'I didn't see that (the crowd trouble) because I had obviously left the field at that time but of course the club doesn't condone that kind of behaviour.'</RTE:></DIV>


                        irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 16:53
                        <H1>Rovers condemn behaviour of fans</H1>
                        <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>
                        CARL O'MALLEY


                        <S&#079;NG>Soccer:</S&#079;NG>It will be at least two weeks before Shamrock Rovers learn whether they will face any sanctions for the crowd trou

                        Comment


                          #57


                          This story is from breakingnews.ie


                          <S&#079;NG>Justice Minister condemns soccer riot</S&#079;NG>


                          04/05/2010 - 16:57:39
                          Rioting by fans of one of the country’s top football clubs at a match was branded mindless and a disgrace by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern today.

                          Up to 15 followers of Shamrock Rovers hurled missiles on to the pitch during the clash with Dundalk at the latter’s home ground, Oriel Park, last night.

                          It is understood the violence broke out after one of the Rovers’ players was sent off followed by the manager, causing play to be suspended.

                          Gardaí, backed up by the horse and dog units, were drafted in to restore calm.

                          Mr Ahern, who attended the game, said he was horrified by what he saw.

                          “The behaviour of some sections of Shamrock Rovers fans was mindless and left some in the ground fearing for their safety,” the minister said.

                          “If it wasn’t for the quick reaction and professionalism of the gardai who quelled the riot there could have been some serious injuries.

                          “They deserve everyone’s gratitude who was present in Oriel Park.”

                          Gardai said its officers dispersed a small number of fans after the game broke up.

                          A spokesman said there were no injuries and no arrests were made.

                          In a statement Shamrock Rovers said between 10 and 15 supporters were involved in the trouble out of an estimated 500 who travelled to Dundalk to watch the game.

                          It pledged a full investigation and claimed serious action would be taken against those found to be involved.

                          “These people do not represent Shamrock Rovers, and are not wanted at our club,” the statement said.

                          “Since moving to Tallaght, we regularly attract crowds of around 4,000 people, including many families, and these dozen or so individuals do not fit in at Shamrock Rovers.”

                          The Football Association of Ireland, which runs the Airtricity League, said the incident would be reviewed by its stadium committee in co-operation with the gardai and the clubs.

                          “Airtricity League clubs have worked tirelessly in the community to build-up fan-bases which last year delivered combined attendances of 425,000 in a safe and entertaining environment,” the FAI said.

                          “The FAI will ensure that the behaviour of a tiny minority is not allowed to take away from these efforts.”

                          Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/sport/jus...ter-condemns-s occer-riot-456351.html#ixzz0mytr2C18

                          Comment


                            #58
                            irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 16:43
                            <H1>Meyler may be sidelined for a year</H1>
                            <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


                            Sunderland manager Steve Bruce fears that Republic of Ireland midfielder David Meyler could be sidelined for up to a year by a knee injury. The 20-year-old will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and the ligament on the other side of his right knee.





                            Bruce has revealed Meyler will be out of action “until at least Christmas”, and could be missing for a year.


                            “It looks like a really serious injury for the kid. He’s in Bradford as we speak and will be operated on Friday. We wish him a speedy recovery. It’s a nasty end to the season.”


                            Meyler suffered the injury during Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League defeat by Manchester United and was carried from the pitch at the Stadium of Light on a stretcher.


                            The club confirmed this morning initial scans had revealed ligament damage and that the player would consult a specialist this week.


                            However, they are wasting little time and this afternoon confirmed a date for surgery has now been set.


                            Bruce admitted days before the United game Meyler and fellow youngster Jordan Henderson had already saved the club millions in transfer fees after emerging from the ranks to claim regular places in the first team.


                            The former Cork City player made his senior debut at Blackburn on December 28th and had taken his tally to 12 when disaster struck.


                            Meyler’s form for Sunderland has caught the attention of Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, who called him up for an end-of-season training camp later this month.


                            Instead, he will beginning the long haul back towards fitness knowing he may have to write off the 2010-11 season all together.


                            Meanwhile, keeper Craig Gordon will also go under the surgeon’s knife this summer, although his need is less pressing.


                            The 27-year-old Scotland international will have an operation after Sunday’s final Premier League game of the season at Wolves to remove a metal plate which was inserted in his arm after he suffered a fracture in a collision with Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe in November.


                            He will then spend part of his summer break back on Wearside rehabilitating before the start of the new campaign.


                            Gordon said: “I will have the operation to get the plate out and then I will be in the hands of the physios here for my rehab, however long that will take.


                            “Hopefully, I will be fully fit and ready to participate in pre-season training.”

                            Comment


                              #59
                              Anyone out there with a live stream to Spurs v City? Please
                              Gwan Joe!!

                              Comment


                                #60
                                irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Thursday, May 6, 2010, 13:28
                                <H1>Ireland and Hunt contemplate future</H1>
                                <DIV style="CLEAR: left"></DIV>


                                Stephen Ireland has admitted there is a major question mark over his Manchester City future, while Stephen Hunt has spoken about leaving Hull as the relegated side seek to ease their debts.


                                After earning a PFA young player of the year nomination with some stellar performances last term, Ireland has struggled badly this year.


                                Injury, illness and loss of form have combined to see him go backwards in his quest for a regular Blues starting slot and having missed Wednesday night's devastating defeat to Tottenham, has still only appeared 11 times under Roberto Mancini.


                                The 23-year-old has never given any indication of a desire to leave Eastlands. But with a major review of playing staff certain to follow the failure to secure a Champions League berth next season, Ireland knows he could be in the firing line.


                                "There is a question mark over next year for me," he told the Manchester Evening News. "I don't know what will happen. I am contracted to City and all I can do is carry on doing my job and performing well when I am called upon.


                                "If anything changes during the summer it will be down to the club, not me."


                                Ireland only signed a new long-term contract last summer, so it seems strange to be talking about his future already. But undoubtedly, this term has not gone as he would have hoped, leaving him deeply irritated.


                                "It has been a difficult year because I care so much about my job," he said.


                                "I care about my game and about the club but there is a lot of frustration bottled up because I have not played as much as I would have liked."


                                Hull City midfielder Hunt reportedly remains a target for Wolves boss Mick McCarthy and is also being tracked by Newcastle United.


                                The former Republic of Ireland winger is resigned to leaving and today told the Evening Herald: "If we had stayed up I would have been happy to stay but we're not in the Premier League now and they might want to sell me.


                                "In January we had an agreement that they would sell me due to the financial situation that would arise from relegation. The chairman has been very good to me. He said that once I gave my all for Hull, he'd have no problem in honouring that agreement for me to go.


                                "I have done that, I have done well for Hull," added the 28-year-old, who scored 6 goals in 27 games to finish as the club's top scorer. "Unfortunately, I haven't delivered as much as I would have liked because we have been relegated."


                                Hunt added the club has agreed to sell him at a lower price than the €4 million he was bought from Reading for, but could not indicate how much of a reduction there would be.

                                Comment

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