By Graham Hill
FORMER Villa skipper Stan Petrov may not be using his influence on the pitch any more – but he is still inspiring the club’s Play-off bid.
Petrov won the battle with Leukemia that saw him eventually announce his retirement from the game in 2013.
But his links with the club have stayed strong – and he is still in contact with some of Villa’s top players as they close in on the Play-offs.
Fit again defender Alan Hutton revealed that the ex-Bulgaria midfielder is no stranger to the team.
Hutton told Villa’s official website: “Even now, he chats to us all – myself, Jack Grealish, John McGinn.
“He leaves messages, makes phonecalls to us. “He’s not an official part of the club but he’s still helping it, helping us all.”
Petrov recovered so well from his treatment that he tried to make a comeback in 2016 and took part in Villa’s pre-season programme but was not given a contract.
But asked who the best player was that Hutton had played with, the Scotland full-back said: “I’ve got to go for Stan Petrov.
“What he brought to the club as a player and as a captain was immense.
“He was an inspirational man for a lot of other players here, a lot of young players – the likes of Barry Bannan, for example. It’s for what he did off the pitch as well as on it, too.”