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Mark Hughes will end Stephen Ireland's Aston Villa misery by taking him to Craven Cottage to help ease Fulham’s relegation worries, according to The Mirror.

Ireland has been out of favour since making the switch from Manchester City in the summer as part of the James Milner deal, and Villa boss Gerard Houllier is known to be willing to let the midfielder leave in January.

Houllier said: “Once a player wants to go, he goes. He said he wanted to go in January. He said that to his agent. I think we will be looking to get the same kind of money back.”

Ireland has already come under criticism from Houllier for his location, with his reluctance to move out of his Cheshire mansion and into the Midlands area closer to the club, so it is yet to be seen if a move to the capital would interest Ireland.

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