Stoke City loan signing Stephen Ireland is confident he can recapture the form he enjoyed at Manchester City.

Ireland moved to Stoke on-loan from Aston Villa.

He told The Sentinel: "I have to be confident. I never had a run of games at Villa to prove myself. The one time I did, I got player of the year. But the season before and the season after, I didn't get a run of games."

One of the reasons for that confidence, of course, is the sight of Mark Hughes, Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki here at Stoke

"I'm close to the manager and his staff," says Ireland. "I had a great campaign under them (at Man City) and I'm just happy to be around them again. It's a relief to be at the same place."

And as luck would have it, it's Manchester City first up for Ireland as a Stoke player next Saturday.

"Yes, I'm really looking forward to it," he enthused. "It's kind of funny how it's Man City in the first game.

"Hopefully, if I get any game time, I can make an impact."

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