Stokes stays in Hungary

West Ham United reserve team captain Tony Stokes has joined Hungarian Soproni League title-chasers Ujpest FC until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old midfielder put pen to paper on Thursday afternoon at the Boleyn Ground after spending last week with the 20-times Hungarian league champions. Stokes impressed Ujpest's coaching staff on the training pitch and cannot wait to show them what he can do in competitive action.

"It went really well. I am going to go out there until the end of the season. They are second in the league table and, with all the cups they are still involved in, I could play as many as 30 games between now and the end of the season. I am looking forward to playing first-team football and showing them what I can do."

Stokes was an interested spectator as Ujpest won 3-2 at Zalaegerszeg in the Hungarian League Cup on Saturday. The versatile youngster could make his debut in Sunday's Soproni League fixture at fifth-placed Nyíregyháza. Ujpest go into the weekend in second spot, three points behind leaders Debrecen with 15 matches remaining.

"I really feel I can make an impact. The level of football is similar to the Championship. It is a bit slower than English football but the technical level of the players is very high. This is a great chance for me."

Ujpest have welcomed Stokes to Hungary, making the Essex-born player feel at home in a country and a city - Budapest - he knew little about just a few short weeks ago.

"They have set up me up with an apartment and a car, which has been great. Budapest is also a beautiful place. I never realised how nice it was before I arrived. There is another English player called Scott Malone who has joined them from Wolves so it's good to have him there. The other lads can speak a bit of English and if I speak slowly and use some hand gestures, I can hold conversations with most of them!"

Stokes' move to Ujpest comes just a fortnight after West Ham brought Hungary Under-21 goalkeeper Peter Kurucz to the Boleyn Ground from the club on loan until the end of the season. Hungary Under-19 striker Balint Bajner is also on the Hammers' books and progressing well.

Joe Borocz, Ujpesti CEO, said: "We have been working with West Ham for three months so we are very pleased that we have come to this point with Tony coming to Budapest. We feel he will be able to help our team to make a really concerted effort to win the championship and we will see at the end of May if it has worked out for Ujpest and Tony. I am very hopeful that it will.

"English club football is the pinnacle of the world so when we looked at clubs to work with we felt that West Ham was the perfect club. We both have great traditions and ambitious plans for the future. I could not think of a nicer club to work with than West Ham and now there will be a lot of fans back in Budapest pulling for West Ham to do well."