Ireland determined to play on through the pain barrier
Stephen Ireland is ready to play through the pain barrier in a bid to kick-start Villa's season.
Ireland returned to action in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Fulham after suffering a broken arm against Southampton last month.
The 26-year-old's arm is still not quite fully healed but he has been able to play and train wearing a temporary cast.
After winning his place back for the Craven Cottage trip, Ireland has vowed to push himself to the limit again when Villa host Norwich at Villa Park on Saturday.
"I played against Fulham so hopefully I'm back for good now," he said.
"I went for a tackle and my momentum took me through and I had to put my hand down to push me back up to run again, but my arm just snapped.
"They said the recovery would be six weeks, but after three and a half I could play with a temporary cast, so I'm doing that at the moment.
"It's still broken, but they've said I can play. It's not quite pain free, but it's enough so that I can play and I don't want to be out any longer, so I'm happy to do that even if it is a bit uncomfortable.
"I still feel a lot of pain with it and I'm conscious of it but I just want to play as much as I can.
"I'd rather play through the pain than not play at all because I really want to be in the team as much as I can this year."
Ireland has vowed to hold on to his place in the starting XI after reclaiming his spot for the Fulham clash.
He was forced to sit out the previous three games against Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham.
"I've not had a consistent run yet, but that's up to me I guess," Ireland added.
"I've had a bit of a setback with my arm. Just when I was getting a consistent run I broke my arm and then I missed three games, so that kind of knocked me out of my stride.
"But I'm back now and I think if I can get a run then it's my shirt to lose and I'm trying to play every minute of every game from now on, that's my goal for this year.
"I think now I've got myself in, I'll make sure I stay in the team."
Make sure you're here to back the boys against Norwich City.