Ireland keen on permanent NUFC switch

AGONY ... Newcastle midfielder Stephen Ireland has been at his injured girlfriend's bedside.
AGONY ... Newcastle midfielder Stephen Ireland has been at his injured girlfriend's bedside.
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STEPHEN Ireland is keen to win a permanent move to Newcastle United – and end his Villa Park “nightmare”.

The midfielder, on a half-season loan from Aston Villa, is set to make his debut against Manchester United at St James’s Park a week today.

Ireland returned to training last month after recovering from the thigh and knee problems which had sidelined him since his deadline day move, but he was ineligible to play in Sunday’s defeat at Villa.

With manager Alan Pardew having been badly hit by injuries and suspension in recent weeks, Ireland’s return to fitness is timely.

However, Ireland – who could be used as a second striker by Pardew – has just six games to rediscover his form and prove he can add something to the club’s squad ahead of the summer transfer window.

The 24-year-old’s long-term future seemingly lies away from Villa Park, where had been sidelined by Gerard Houllier after he took over from Kevin MacDonald, who presided over Ireland’s debut in their 6-0 defeat at St James’s Park in August.

Now settled on Tyneside, Ireland’s keen to make the most of the final few weeks of the campaign,

Ireland told SportMail: “It’s a good place for me to settle, and who knows what could happen in the summertime?

“All the staff here are excellent. It could turn out to be permanent. We don’t know, or it could turn into a loan again.

“We’ll see what happens in these next two months.”

Read the full story in Tuesday’s Mail ...