Stephen Ireland scored his first goal since December 2011 to help his new side Stoke City into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup and manager Mark Hughes was pleased with his efforts.

The former Manchester City midfielder, making his full debut after joining on a season-long loan from Aston Villa, struck the opener midway through the first half as the Potters won 2-0 at Tranmere in front of Republic of Ireland caretaker manager Noel King. 

Ireland is hoping to rejuvenate his career under Hughes, his former Manchester City boss, after falling out of favour at Villa.

The 27-year-old, who joined the Potters on transfer deadline day, was at the heart of much of Stoke's early attacking play and took his goal well, finishing neatly from a Marko Arnautovic pass.

He was substituted after an hour.

Hughes said: "I was really pleased for Stephen because he is desperate to do well here. I thought he was excellent.

"He got tired and we had to take him off but he got his goal and that was reward for a good time out on the pitch."