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By ESPN Staff

Royals' Hunt signs new three-and-a-half year deal

Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt has signed a new three-and-a-half year contract.

The Republic of Ireland international, who was a target for Sunderland in the January transfer window, is now tied to the Berkshire club until 2011.

Royals director of football Nick Hammond told the club's official website: 'Considering all the speculation surrounding `Hunty' in recent weeks his professionalism and commitment have been outstanding, and he personifies the qualities that our team will need for the remainder of this season and beyond.

'He has greatly matured as a player and a person since joining us, and is now an established Premier League and international footballer so we are delighted with this news.'

Hunt added: 'I am very pleased to sign this new deal and show my commitment to Reading.

'I believe the club can keep going forward in the next few years and I want to play my part in that process.'

Hunt moved to the Madejski Stadium after being released by Brentford in June 2005. He has become one of the key players in Steve Coppell's team and has played in every Barclays Premier League game so far this season, scoring six times in all competitions.