By Paul Brown in Portugal
Curtis Davies insists he's determined to catch manager Martin O'Neill's eye and relaunch his Villa career.
Davies insists he is relishing the prospect of battling Richard Dunne, James Collins and Carlos Cuellar for a spot in the centre of defence this season.
The former Baggies captain says he's been rolling up his sleeves and working hard during pre-season, after doing extra work in the summer holidays to give himself as good a chance as possible of returning to the team.
He said: "The biggest thing for me is getting back into the team.
"I have rolled my sleeves up and we'll see what happens.
"Obviously the manager will make his decisions but I will see, keep my head down and hope things work out for me.
"I have never been scared of competition. I have done a lot of hard work - a lot of running - throughout the holidays - and now I've come back for pre-season one of the fittest here and determined to make it work.
"We'll have to wait and see. If you can get in the team ahead of the likes of Carlos, Dunnie and Ginge, you know you must have done something right in pre-season.
"If you can put in some good performances during pre-season, hopefully that will stand you in good stead for the start of the new campaign.
"If you play well, you give the manager a massive headache and that's what I want to do."
Davies has thoroughly enjoyed the intense Portuguese training camp and insists the team spirit has been brilliant among the lads.
He continued: "Team spirit is so important - it's a massive thing. I know it's about doing it out on the pitch but if you have players who talk to each other on and off the pitch and get on with each other on and off the pitch, it makes things so much easier.
"You can get better from trips like this - and you're a tighter group.
"We have a lot of the players who were there at the Peace Cup, but we have had the likes of Warnie, Dunnie, Ginge and Stewie D join us since but they fit in perfectly. They are top lads. The team spirit hasn't changed.
"It's been good. We've been training really hard - lots of short, sharp games with runs in between.
"That's hard at home but in this heat it does take it out of you. The lads were dripping. Unfortunately we have this type of weather for about the first four games of the season and then it's raining again.
"It's good to get the sun on your back, work hard and do some chilling."