WANDERERS have completed the signing of former Manchester City and Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland.

The 32-year-old free agent, who left Stoke City in the summer, has signed a short term contract with the club.

Ireland trained with Bolton during the summer and looked close to making a permanent move until he picked up a calf injury, which set him back several weeks.

Recently, Aberdeen had been strongly linked with his services, but the chance to continue his career in the North West was too strong a lure.

Ireland suffered a number of injury issues at Stoke, restricting him to just five starts in the last two years.

But the Cork-born midfielder’s rich CV suggests he could be an intriguing signing for Wanderers, who have lacked cutting edge in recent weeks.

Ireland made his debut for Manchester City in 2005 and played 174 times for the Blues, scoring 23 goals, before a £13million move to Aston Villa in 2010.

After four years and 58 games at Villa Park, with spells on loan at Newcastle United and Stoke, he made a permanent move to the Potteries and featured a total of 70 times for the club.

The midfielder also has six caps for the Republic of Ireland.

“We are really pleased with the signing of Stephen," said Parkinson.

“Although he’s got a bit to do in terms of match fitness, we’ve got a lot of games coming up and I’m sure he will make a positive contribution.