Stephen Ireland’s wretched 2010/11 campaign is over due to an ankle injury, Newcastle United announced on Wednesday.
The on-loan midfielder sustained the injury during the Magpies’ 1-1 draw at Blackpool on Saturday, and scans have revealed the problem is serious enough to keep him sidelined for the remaining four matches of the season.
The news will come as a bitter blow to the former Republic of Ireland international, who was hoping to convince Toon manager Alan Pardew he was worthy of a long-term deal in the season run-in.
Ireland, on loan from Aston Villa, has managed just two substitute appearances since moving to St James’ Park in January due to ongoing injury problems.
The 24-year-old carried a knee complaint to the North East in the January transfer window, and was struck down by a thigh injury on his return to training at St James’ Park in March.
Ireland had hoped to resurrect his career at Newcastle after an unhappy sojourn in the Midlands, which ended in January after he failed to impress Villa manager Gerard Houllier.
The former Manchester City man was shipped to Villa Park in the off-season as part of the deal which saw James Milner join the Sky Blues, but he managed just 12 appearances – five as a substitute – in the Villa shirt.
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