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Aston Villa attacking midfielder Stephen Ireland is hoping that his performances for Paul Lambert's side can earn him a contract extension at Villa Park

Stephen Ireland is hoping to extend his contract with Aston Villa after putting in a couple of strong performances under new manager Paul Lambert.

Ireland put in a man of the match performance against Tranmere Rovers in the Capital One Cup in midweek, and Lambert has urged the Corkman to continue that form for the Villains. "I am enjoying playing under Paul Lambert, absolutely. He is a really good guy and fair and honest," Ireland told the Evening Herald.

“He definitely knows what he is doing and talking about and he has been really impressive to me and I'm hoping I can play under him for as long as possible. At the end of this season I will have 12 months left on my contract, so I'm hoping I can earn a new contract here and prove myself to him with a good consistent run of form. That is one if my goals this season."

Ireland believes that he can continue his good run of form, and can be the provider for Darren Bent's goals to see Villa rise up the table. “I want to play as consistently as I can and I'm hoping with that we can have talks and I can extend my contract," he said. “But I've got to let my football do the talking and it's up to the chairman and the manager. Last season I was in many different positions and I wasn't able to get into the final third as much as I would have liked.

"It was completely understandable with the way the squad was and injuries and Darren also got injured which didn't help. But I feel my job in in the team now is to create as many chances as I can for him because nine out of 10 he is going to finish."

Meanwhile, Paul Lambert is also unsure whether to keep Shay Given in the Villa lineup after the Irishman's poor start to the Premier League season. Backup keeper Brad Guzan performed well against Tranmere, keeping a clean sheet when deputising for Given. "When a keeper makes a mistake, it gets really highlighted. Outfield players can make mistakes left right and centre," Lambert said.

"It is not something that has blighted my vision of how good a keeper Shay is.  Brad did fine the other night. I’ll decide tomorrow [who will start]."

Aston Villa travel to St. James's Park on Sunday to take on Newcastle United at 16.00.

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