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Thursday 8 December 2016

After Republic of Ireland heroics, Jon Walters now has Gunners in sights

Jonathan Walters (pictured) has been publicly backed by his Stoke boss Mark Hughes
Jonathan Walters (pictured) has been publicly backed by his Stoke boss Mark Hughes

Ireland's Euro 2016 hero Jonathan Walters is back in the fold with Stoke City and has Arsenal in his sights as boss Mark Hughes insists he has every faith in the striker.

Walters is on a high at international level having scored the winner in Monday's key qualifier at home to Georgia. But his club future is shrouded in doubt as he was omitted from the Stoke squad for their most recent Premier league game due to the uncertainty over a possible move away from the Brittania Stadium. Walters was late arriving into the Ireland camp for the Gibraltar/Georgia double header as he remained in England to complete a possible move away but the transfer window closed with no deal done and he now remains a Stoke player, until January at least.

Walters is out of contract next summer and is hoping for a new two-year deal but Stoke are only willing to offer a 12-month extension. But boss Hughes says the forward will return to the squad for tomorrow's trip to face the Gunners.

"His immediate future, and his future at the weekend,is that he will be involved in our game at Arsenal," said Hughes when asked about Walters' status.

"Jon is not the only player that went through a similar situation during the transfer window. Jon is a very, very good professional and he will get his head down. He's had a couple of weeks away with his international squad and done really well, so his focus was really good and it will be similar for Stoke City. I'm absolutely certain of that."

Meanwhile, Ipswich pair David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy, who missed the Euro 2016 double header, are fit again and rejoin Mick McCarthy's squad this weekend.

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