Ireland eyes permanent deal

Image: Ireland: Wants to settle in Newcastle and could turn loan deal into permanent move

Stephen Ireland is happy at Newcastle and would be open to staying beyond the end of the season.

On-loan midfielder keen to stay at Newcastle

Stephen Ireland has revealed that he is happy at Newcastle and would be open to staying beyond the end of the season. The midfielder moved to St James' Park on loan from Aston Villa in January but has yet to make his debut for the Magpies due to injury. However, manager Alan Pardew hinted last month that a long-term contract could be agreed and Ireland admits that is something he would be interested in. The 24-year-old is looking for some stability and is hopeful of remaining on Tyneside, either on a permanent arrangement or a new loan deal. He told the Chronicle: "This is a good place for me to settle in the next few months, and who knows what could happen in the summertime. "It could turn out to be permanent. We don't know, or it could turn into a loan again. "We will see what happens in the next two months."

Isolated

Ireland is fit and available for selection again and could be given a first opportunity to impress Pardew when Newcastle face Manchester United next Tuesday. He has not played since turning out for Villa in December, having fallen down the pecking order under Gerard Houllier. "It has been an absolute nightmare - it feels like I have not kicked a ball for so long," he said. "I have not played competitively for so long and it has been difficult. "When the new manager came in at Villa, I was left out of eight squads in a row - and that hurts. "The lads were going away to hotels and playing games, and I felt really isolated at home."

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