Stephen Ireland

By Anthony Marshall

 

Stephen Ireland believes he is nearing a return to fitness, and could be back in full training by the end of next week.

The midfielder, 24, signed on loan for Newcastle from Aston Villa on January transfer deadline day, but is yet to pull on the black and white striped shirt due to a knee injury.

However, hard work with the physios at Newcastle's Benton-based Training Centre appears to be paying off, and Ireland is looking forward to joining in with his new teammates sooner rather than later.

"We thought it would be a couple of weeks," he told nufc.co.uk. "But I went running outside today (Thursday) at a decent level and decent pace, and I reckon it could be by the end of next week hopefully.

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

"I haven't got any specific game in mind. I've just got to take a day at a time really, because one day it could feel amazing and then the next day really bad. It's quite strange, but I have to see how I feel on a day to day basis.

"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 training, but I'm not far away.

"I didn't come here just to get treatment - I came here to play. Thankfully things are getting right now and I'm almost there."