Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has said that his career at Villa Park is beginning to flourish under Paul Lambert after a 'stop-start' beginning to his time at the Birmingham club.
Ireland, 26, signed for Villa in 2010 after a protracted row with former club Manchester City, but revealed that he joined the Villans 'under illusions' and that he struggled under the management of Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish.
"I did come here under illusions," he told the Daily Telegraph. "Villa had been sixth for the three previous seasons. I thought we could kick on. But Martin O'Neill left just before I got here. Then Gerard Houllier arrived."
However, the Cork born midfielder believes that he is now 'getting a fair crack at things' under new manager Paul Lambert, who joined the club at the beginning of the season.
"When you have good intentions and you really want to achieve certain things for yourself, it's very hard when someone gets in the way and stops you from doing it.
"I was sent on loan after a few months and it was all very stop-start for me. It's only now I'm pretty much getting a fair crack at things," he said.