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Thursday 13 December 2018

Ireland gets close to Toon debut

STEPHEN IRELAND says he's close to being fit enough to make his debut for Newcastle, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

The former Irish international joined Newcastle on loan from Aston Villa last month but has been unable to play for Alan Pardew's side due to a knee injury but he now has set his sights on a return to action.

"We thought it would be a few weeks, but I went running yesterday at a decent level and a decent pace and I reckon it could be by the end of next week, hopefully," Ireland said.

"I have just got to do a few more sessions and see how far I can push it. If it goes well I could be back soon.

"I haven't got a specific game in mind, I just have to take it a day at a time, because one day it could feel amazing and the next day really bad. I have to see how I feel.

"I just need to get back on the field now. I'm frustrated with the injury I've got at the moment."

"After two weeks at a club you want to be getting involved in the playing and the training, but I'm not far away. I didn't come here to get treatment, I came to play but thankfully things are getting right now and I'm almost there."

Ireland made 13 appearances for Villa in the first half of the season before Gerard Houllier sent him out on loan.

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