STEPHEN WARD says he’s likely to secure a return to Brighton for next season after a loan move with the Championship side revived his career.
The league campaign ended in disappointment for the Seagulls and Ward, who had been on a season-long loan deal from Wolves, as Derby County edged out Brighton in the semi-final of the Championship playoff with Derby earning a place in the final against QPR next Saturday.
Ward’s time at the Amex Stadium is now up as he has a full year left on his contract at Wolves, and Wolves boss Kenny Jackett has already said that he wants to have a “fresh” look to his side in the Championship next term instead of recalling the large number of Wolves players who were out on loan this term and are due to return.
But the Ireland defender hopes that a longer spell at Brighton could happen. “Whatever happens will be done in the summer but I’m hopeful that is not going to be my last game at the Amex for Brighton,” says Ward.
“It’s difficult. I’m contracted so there are a lot of negotiations and talks to go on behind the scenes that will not even involve me. I will leave that all to the powers that be in the summer.
“But I don’t have one negative word to say about this place and how this year has gone for me.
“It has been a fantastic move for me, a real breath of fresh air in my career,” added Ward, who is due to hook up with the Ireland squad in Dublin later this week for Sunday’s friendly against Turkey.
Fellow Dubliner Keith Andrews, who was also on loan to Brighton last season, has also expressed an interest in making a move to the club.
Andrews, 33, has a year remaining on his deal with Bolton.