The creative midfielder joined Villa last summer having fallen out of favour at Roberto Mancini's Manchester City, but he lost his place once Gerard Houllier took charge and was loaned out to Newcastle in January where he made just two appearances due to injury.
Now fully-fit and with a new boss in Alex McLeish at Villa Park, Ireland is hoping to recapture the form that made him a fans favourite at City under Mark Hughes.
Frustrating spell: Stephen Ireland has failed to hold down a regular place at Aston Villa
'I've come back this year really determined and really ready to give it a good shot, and hopefully this manager gives me a fair go, which I haven't had in a while,' Ireland told Sky Sports News.
'That's all I'm asking for, is a fair shot. I'm not asking for special treatment, I'm just asking for a fair crack at playing.
'It's very difficult for confidence. Like you say I was a fans' favourite (at City), and that's what I wanted to become here, have that same support of the fans.
'I haven't played five games in a row since Mark Hughes (was City manager), so it's not as if I've played in 20 or 30 games and not done anything.
Injury-plagued: Ireland only made two appearances for Newcastle
'I haven't had the opportunity to perform to even be in that situation. I came in for training and went home. My job was just training, that was it.'Ireland added: 'I got sent to Newcastle basically against my own will.
'I came here as a new signing, and I was here to play every second of every game. I came here really determined and wanted to kick on.
'I came here under Kevin MacDonald and everything seemed fine and was going in the right direction.
'Gerard came in, and everyone has their own opinions, and I wasn't for him I guess.'
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