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Ireland in derby vow

Stephen Ireland has vowed to be fit for the derby after hobbling out of the win over Arsenal at the weekend.

The Blues Player of the Season raised concerns when he exited in the 72nd minute of the 4-2 triumph over the Gunners that extended the Blues unblemished league record this season to four matches.

After the game boss Mark Hughes confirmed that his midfielder had been close to going off at half time due to a knock that he had been carrying for some time.

But the player himself reckons that it will take more than a little pain and discomfort to keep him out of the fray at Old Trafford.

“I can’t wait for the match and I am confident that I will be fine for Sunday,” insisted Ireland. “The injury was painful on Saturday but the three points soon made that fade.

Derby matches are great occasions and I will do everything I can to make sure I play in this one.

...Stephen Ireland


Ireland has called for calm heads both on and off the pitch ahead of the clash with our neighbours.

“There will be an extra edge to this game there is no doubt about that. Carlos Tevez coming here and some of the things that have been said this summer may even sharpen that edge,” noted the midfielder.

“There is bound to be plenty of banter before the match and in the stands at Old Trafford though I would like to think that there will be a definite line that will not be crossed.

“One of my best memories in football is the dignified and respectful way that our fans behaved at the derby when the Munich crash was commemorated.

“They can rightly bask in the term impeccable and the team was pretty impeccable too that day. If we could replicate both next week then it would be great.

“Everyone is looking forward to the derby especially after the win over Arsenal.

“Derby games are great; the nerves before hand, the build up, the fans just everything about them. They are especially good when you win. Gareth Barry’s first question to me was what are the derby games like and my answer to him was that he would not have experienced anything like it in his life.”

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