Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Ankle problem ends miserable season for Stephen Ireland
Newcastle’s medical staff confirm that the Irish midfielder will miss the side’s final four matches.

A SEASON FILLED with more downs than ups has come to a premature end for Stephen Ireland after Newcastle’s medical staff ruled him out of the club’s final four games with an ankle problem.

The injury-prone 24-year-old has made just two substitute appearances for the Magpies since his loan move from Aston Villa in January.

Having shaken a knee injury which had ruled him out of action during his first month at St. James’ Park, the former Republic of Ireland star had hoped to make his Newcastle debut in early March.

However, a training-ground thigh problem sidelined him for a further four weeks and, as a result, Ireland only made his first appearance as a 65th-minute substitute in the Geordies’ 0-0 draw against league leaders Manchester United eight days ago.

He also featured as a substitute in the club’s draw against Blackpool last weekend and manager Alan Pardew had earlier told reporters that he expected the midfielder to play some part in this weekend’s game against Liverpool.