STEPHEN Ireland is desperate to rebuild his career at Newcastle United.
But the frustrated midfielder could be a month away from his debut because of a niggling injury.
Ireland joined the club on transfer deadline day this week on a half-season loan.
But the 24-year-old – who had fallen out of favour at Aston Villa under Gerard Houllier – is not expected to be fit for at least three more weeks, having been sidelined with a slight knee problem.
“It’s very frustrating,” Ireland said. “I want to crack on and be involved straight away – it’s not nice sitting in the physio room.
“You don’t want to watch the lads training, you want to be amongst it. It’s frustrating and difficult.
“I saw a specialist the other day and he reckoned a month with my knee.
“But I’ve had an injection, so hopefully I’ll be able to do some heavy training. I’m very eager to go. I’m a good healer and really determined to get going and get myself quicker.
“Hopefully, I can get back as soon as I can.”
Ireland joined Villa in August from Manchester City, where he had struggled to get a game under Roberto Mancini, despite an impressive couple of seasons under previous managers Mark Hughes and Sven-Goran Eriksson.
And the former Republic of Ireland international again found himself marginalised at Villa Park.
“It’s been very unfortunate to have two managers who didn’t really fancy me,” said Ireland. “They didn’t want me there, support me or even give me a chance.
“It’s been difficult. I haven’t played consecutively for five or six games, and hopefully I can do that here.
“It’s a massive relief to get away because I wasn’t getting used – I wasn’t playing.
“This is a new challenge. It’s a lovely city and a nice training ground. It’s really good here, and I want to be part of everything.
“I’m really excited – I just want to come out of the traps and play to the best of my ability.”
Meanwhile, left-back Jose Enrique has put contract talks on hold until the club is safe from relegation. He is conscious United are still about 10 points short of the tally needed for another season of Premier League football, is unwilling to enter substantive discussions.
On Joey Barton, Pardew added: “We just haven’t got round to it – there’s a lot of things to tie up with a contract like Joey’s. We’re just overcoming a lot of little technical barriers.”
H Cheik Tiote has vowed not to change his tough-tackling style – despite his frustrating spell on the sidelines through suspension.
Tiote was dismissed in Newcastle United’s FA Cup defeat at Stevenage a month ago.
However, having served his three-game ban, the hugely influential midfielder was available for this afternoon’s game against Arsenal at St James’s Park.
“I don’t think the red card will change anything in me because I have to play I always play,” Tiote said.
“If I change, it’s not good for me. English football is hard – you get kicked. I have to win every ball. For me, that’s the most important thing.”
“I have to win the ball and give it to a striker, or another team-mate.”