Stoke could lose Walters, fears Hughes

Mark Hughes admits Stoke are in danger of losing Republic of Ireland forward Jonathan Walters but retains hope an agreement can be reached with the forward over a new deal.
Stoke could lose Walters, fears Hughes

Walters’ current contract with the club runs out at the end of the season and discussions over an extension have stalled, with the 32-year-old wanting a deal through to the summer of 2018 but Stoke only offering one to 2017.

Walters has been in fine form this term, with his spectacular strike in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup clash with Chelsea his fourth club goal of the campaign to add to two he has netted for the Republic.

Stoke have consistently said they want to keep hold of Walters, who handed in a transfer request amid bids from Norwich being rejected towards the end of the last transfer window.

And asked yesterday about the situation, Potters boss Hughes said: “There is (a danger of Walters leaving), but it is not what I want and is not what I feel Jon probably wants. There is scope to return to the table — I’d like to think so anyway.

“The issue is the length of contract — it is not about our feelings about Jon’s ability. He is playing exceptionally well. I would like to think we can come to some decision positively not only for ourselves but for Jon himself, because he wants security and to be settled in his work.

“I’m hopeful we will get to a point where we can sit down again and find some common ground.”

His international colleague, central defender Marc Wilson, has vowed to “take it on the chin” after being targeted by the Stoke City boo boys.

Wilson has been a fans favourite at the Britannia Stadium for a long time, but was under fire from some supporters last weekend when his mistake led to Watford scoring their second goal in Stoke’s 2-0 defeat.

He said: “I’ve been at Stoke for a long time and I’ve loved every minute. I can take it on the chin. I’ve got a broad chin! I’m not going to hide away from anyone. You just have to hold your hand up and move on and get to the next game.”

Wilson admits that after ankle and knee problems, which have restricted him to just one league start this season, he is still striving to find his best form.

He added: “It’s been quite a frustrating year for myself. I don’t think I’ve given myself the best chance. I’ve had a few injuries from the word go.

“I’ve been playing catch-up since pre-season.”

Meanwhile, Ireland midfielder Harry Arter has admitted he is hugely relieved to have finally made his comeback for Bournemouth after almost five months on the sidelines.

Arter’s 71 minute appearance in Bournemouth’s 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday was his first since he pick up a groin injury while making his Ireland debut against England in June.

It has been a long haul back for Arter, including having surgery in Germany, and he said: “When my number came up on the substitutes’ board, I was quite happy to come off.

“I’d hit the point where I felt I’d probably done enough. The gaffer realised that and took me off.

“It was unbelievable to be back out there on an unbelievable ground and against a fantastic team. As much as it was always going to be a difficult game, it was a nice one to come back into.”

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