Mark Hughes upbeat on Irish quartet

Mark Hughes has given Martin O’Neill an upbeat bulletin on Stoke’s Irish contingent.

Marc Wilson won’t play for Stoke again this season but Hughes is confident the defender can be ready for the Euros.

“Marc is struggling,” Hughes said of Wilson’s current fitness levels.

“His injury hasn’t settled down enough for me to think he is an option before the end of the season.

“He is obviously still hoping to be involved for Ireland — he should be alright for that.

“Another week and he possibly would be well enough to take part but at the moment he is not an option for us — not saying he wouldn’t be for Ireland.

“At the end of the season he just needs to get the work done on the knee and give himself the chance of going but, unfortunately, he won’t get game-time before the end of the season.”

On a happier note, Glenn Whelan has shaken off a back injury and will play in Stoke’s last two games.

Shay Given may join him in the last game. The goalkeeper’s groin injury should be healed within a week.

Hughes explained: “The knee was the worry but it is okay. He is not fit for this weekend but possibly next. He will be fit and available and well, if Ireland want him.”

Last weekend saw Jon Walters return to the squad, although he was not fit enough to start in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland.

However, the forward is raring to go at Crystal Palace this weekend.

“Jon wanted to be back before the end of the season,” said the Potters boss. “Not least because he wanted to help us and be a part of what we wanted to achieve.

“But a big part of the year he has had and the success he has had is linked to the Irish squad. He wants to travel and there is no reason why he shouldn’t.”

Meanwhile Brentford striker Scott Hogan, currently being tracked by Ireland boss Martin O’Neill, is trying to put his international ambitions on the back-burner.

Hogan’s five-goal haul for the Bees in just three matches has propelled into contention as a wildcard for the Euros, as he’s eligible through his grandparents.

The 24-year-old told Hogan told GetWestLondon: “My grandma and granddad are Irish – my late grandfather was as well. I’m eligible to play for Ireland but I’m a Brentford player and the last thing I’m thinking of is who I’m going to represent internationally. It’s getting ahead of myself.”

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