Former Aston Villa and Newcastle United and man completes Championship transfer as he targets third promotion

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A member of Aston Villa’s 2015 FA Cup final team has found a new club

A former Aston Villa defender who made 159 first team appearances for the club has completed a move to a Championship side on a deal which runs until the end of the season.

Ciaran Clark joined the Aston Villa youth academy when he was just 11-years-old and successfully progressed through the youth system. In 2007/08 he captained the U18 team to a league title and he was introduced into the first team picture a year later during the club’s UEFA Cup campaign. Clark emerged as a first team player during Gerard Houllier’s tenure as manager and remained a key member of the defence under the likes of Alex McLeish, Paul Lambert and Tim Sherwood.

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The Irish international was involved in Villa’s run to the FA Cup final in 2015 as they finished runners-up to Arsenal but was relegated the following season in a disastrous campaign for the West Midlands club. Clark was signed by Championship rivals Newcastle United for a fee of £5m and he helped form part of the defence which won the 2017 Championship title. He remained a first team regular in the Premier League until 2021 but was frozen out by Eddie Howe after a red card against Norwich.

Clark spent last season on loan in the Championship with Sheffield United and made 11 appearances for the Blades as they were promoted back into the top-flight. The 34-year-old has been a free agent since leaving Newcastle at the end of last season and is now determined to achieve further success in the Championship.

Clark arrives at a struggling Stoke City team who are 21st in the Championship table with only three wins from 11 games. The move sees him link up with ex-Newcastle man Dwight Gayle who signed for the club last season. While former Villa players Enda Stevens and Wesley are also a part of the squad.

He will be given two weeks during the international break to train and acclimatise to the squad and he is hoping to make his debut for his new team in back-to-back home matches against Sunderland and Leeds.

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Despite Stoke’s struggles, Clark is confident his team can be successful this season. He said: “I’ve missed the feeling of being in the dressing room and preparing week-to-week for Saturdays. With the quality of players we have, if we find some consistency, I believe we can go on and have a good season.”

The Potters have been out of the Premier League since 2018 and are under pressure to turn results around under Alex Neil.

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