Aston Villa midfielder Ireland ruled out for several weeks with wrist injury
10:41 GMT, 27 September 2012
On form: Ireland
The injury suffered by Stephen Ireland during Aston Villa's 4-1 defeat at Southampton last weekend is not as bad as first feared, his manager Paul Lambert has revealed.
It was initially thought that the midfielder would be out until the new year with a broken a bone in his arm, but scans have revealed that the broken bone is in fact in his wrist.
Ireland, therefore, with the aid of a protective cast, is expected to return to first-team action next month.
'It’s not Stephen’s arm,' Lambert said. 'It’s his wrist. I don’t think it’s as bad as we thought. Hopefully he will be back in a few weeks time.
'Injuries happen. It’s unfortunate for Stephen and it’s unfortunate for us, but he won’t be out for the number of weeks we thought he would be.'
Ireland, who cost Villa 8million back in 2010, has returned to form of late under the guidance of Lambert, who will be boosted by the news that the 26-year-old is returning ahead of schedule.