Only a change of manager at Aston Villa can re-open the door to midfielder Stephen Ireland, who was forced to call time on his loan spell at Newcastle after yet another injury.
Ireland, 24, made just two appearances from the substitutes' bench as his attempt to earn a move to the north-east turned into a nightmare.
The player, who earns ?65,000 a week, has now been ruled out for the final four games of the season with an ankle problem and must return to Villa Park.
Gerard Houllier, recovering from a heart condition which threatens his position at the club, has been unimpressed with the Irish midfielder, who arrived as an ?8millionrated makeweight in the James Milner transfer to Manchester City.
His four-year contract now looks like a huge drain on Villa and he may be allowed to leave for just a few million, although his large wage packet could still cause problems for potential suitors.
Real Villan: Ireland fell out of favour with Villa boss Houiller having joined the Midlands side
On-loan Ireland pays tribute to Toon Army after debut in United stalemateIreland set for St James' bow. almost three months after joining NewcastleIreland finally set to make Newcastle debut against Manchester UnitedAll the latest Newcastle news, features and opinion
Explore more:People: Jessica Lawlor Places: Newcastle, Republic of Ireland, Ireland