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Stiliyan Petrov says he is lucky to be alive following leukaemia battle

I’m lucky to be alive! Villa captain Petrov reveals he is on the road to recovery in leukaemia battle

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

12:47 GMT, 17 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 17 April 2013

Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following a battle with leukaemia after being diagnosed with the disease in March last year, saying he is lucky to be alive.

The Aston Villa club captain spoke about his experience with treatment for the disease and his appreciation of the fans who supported him at matches.

Defender Petrov, who has won 106 caps for his native Bulgaria, has not retired from the professional game and said he is lucky, due to the amount of people who die from the leukaemia.

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

'When it happened I knew what kind of
disease it was but I didn’t know anything about what kind of treatment
it was,' he told AVFC.co.uk

'While the treatment was going on I
was surprised how long things were dragging on, it kept dragging and I
kept thinking “when is this going to finish” but with a lot of patience
and a lot of support from family and friends and everybody I managed to
pull through. I had my hard moments but I had good moments as well.

'I can say I’m lucky because some
people with this disease will die very quickly and I managed to keep
battling and still be here, still standing. It’s really good, that’s a
great thing.'

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Villa

Villa fans hold an applause in the 19th
minute of every game – marking Petrov's squad number – and the
midfielder paid tribute to the supporters who have stood by their
skipper.

'Yeah, the 19th minute has been just
incredible. It’s just showing their appreciation and their support. I
don’t know how I can thank the fans because it’s been incredible.

'Sometimes I have a joke with some
friends when they text me saying, ‘You’ve still got that applause in the
19th minute, when are they going to stop!’ But it’s been incredible.

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

'I’ve got a great wife, a strong,
great wife and she’s been unbelievable, incredible in this journey. The
kids as well, my mom and dad, my brother, my wife’s mum, they’ve all
been so strong and close beside me. Other friends as well, I can’t start
naming names because there are so many, they’ve been so supportive
every single day.

'To have support every single day from
people who have their own problems and their own life but they keep
finding the time to send you a message or call you, it’s just
unbelievable.'

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Petrov also spoke about the club's current form, and has backed his team-mates to stave off any relegation fears after seeing Saturday's 1-1 draw against Fulham.

'I was there at the game against Fulham and I’ve come to a lot of games this season when I’ve had the chance,' Petrov said.

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

'I needed to have clearance from the doctors to go around crowded areas, so I constantly needed to be feeling well in order for me to be around people.

'I was really impressed by the performance against Fulham because the boys kept going right until the last minute. There are still a lot of games to come, a lot of points to be picked up, so there’s nothing to worry about.'

Bolton 2 Leeds United 2

Bolton 2 Leeds United 2: Evergreen Davies rescues point for under-fire boss Coyle

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

21:21 GMT, 2 October 2012

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 2 October 2012

The welcomed back a cult figure but, in the end, they were indebted to an old hero.

Bolton fans may have enjoyed seeing El Hadji Diouf return on Tuesday night but, ultimately, they were more grateful for Kevin Davies.

Having spent four years with Bolton, the controversial Senegal forward was made Leeds captain for the trip to the Reebok and, for much of a frantic game, it looked an inspired choice as he created one goal for Sam Byram and started the move that ended with Luciano Becchio converting a penalty.

Main man: Kevin Davies scored twice to earn Bolton a draw against Leeds

Main man: Kevin Davies scored twice to earn Bolton a draw against Leeds

Match facts

Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Mills, Knight, Warnock, Mark Davies, Andrews, Spearing (Petrov 62), Eagles, Kevin Davies, Afobe (Sordell 72).

Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Ream, Ricketts, Pratley, Lee.

Booked: Kevin Davies, Spearing.

Goals: Kevin Davies 14, 79.

Leeds: Kenny, Lees, Pearce, Peltier, Drury, Byram, Austin, Brown, Tonge,
Diouf, Becchio.

Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Varney, White, Norris, Gray, Thompson, Poleon.

Booked: Peltier, Brown.

Goals: Byram 44, Becchio 50 pen.

Att: 21,255

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Much to Owen Coyle’s relief, though,
Davies came up trumps when it mattered, scoring two trademark headers to
secure a 2-2 draw to alleviate the pressure that has been building on
his manager. Davies may now be 34 but age is not diminishing his
effectiveness.

‘The skipper epitomised everything about this football club,’ said Coyle.

‘We are disappointed not to take all three points but there was a lot to be positive about. If we keep working hard, we will come through the other side smiling. We just need to keep banging on that door.’

Had the game ended with Diouf inspiring a win, Coyle would have banging his head against a brick wall. He lamented two penalty decisions – one which was not awarded to his side, the other which was given to Leeds – but, more than anything, was left cursing Bolton’s inability to kill off opponents.

‘The level of our play at times was outstanding, probably the best it has been all season,’ said Coyle.

Leveller: Davies heads home his and Bolton's second against Leeds

Leveller: Davies heads home his and Bolton's second against Leeds

Early on it was difficult to argue with the Scot. Bolton outplayed Leeds in the opening stages and quickly made their mark. Chris Eagles was the first to test Paddy Kenny with a shot that was beaten away after 12 minutes but they didn’t have long to wait to poke their noses in front.

In keeping with the way he had started, Eagles was the provider. His wicked corner on 14 minutes picked out Bolton’s club captain in the six yard box and the former England international made no mistake when flashing a header past Kenny.

Leeds found trouble containing the home side and Bolton could easily have been double their advantage in the moments that followed as first Keith Andrews tested Kenny before Eagles smashed a searing drive off the right-hand post from 20 yards.

In front: Leeds looked to be on course for three points until Davies struck

In front: Leeds looked to be on course for three points until Davies struck

Bolton, though, lost their rhythm as the contest became tetchy and attritional with referee Phil Dowd regularly blowing regularly for fouls; the last one he awarded before the break had huge ramifications as Diouf’s set piece was converted by Byram.

That gave Leeds all the impetus they needed and their fine start to the second period was rewarded when Becchio coolly dispatched a penalty after Bolton defender Stephen Warnock had tugged down Byram.

It was the fourth consecutive spot kick Coyle’s team had conceded but, fortunately for him, Davies came good at the death to bullet in a header from substitute Martin Petrov’s corner.

‘’It’s not often you come to Bolton and feel disappointed with a draw,’ said Warnock. ‘It was probably my fault we conceded. I told Rodolph Austin to mark Kevin Davies. He was the wrong man to do it.’

Bolton 2 Derby 0

Bolton 2 Derby 0: Veteran Davies leads Trotters' to first league victory

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 21 August 2012

Second-half goals from Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles got Bolton's npower Championship promotion bid up and running at the Reebok Stadium.

Owen Coyle's side suffered a chastening opening-day defeat against his former employers Burnley, but they recovered from a lacklustre first hour to see off Derby.

Debutant Conor Sammon should have given the Rams an early lead and, although Marvin Sordell went close at the other end, Bolton departed to boos at the interval.

Opener: Kevin Davies (centre right) celebrates scoring his sides first goal

Opener: Kevin Davies (centre right) celebrates scoring his sides first goal

MATCH FACTS:

Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Mills, Ricketts, Lee, Mark Davies, Andrews, Eagles, Sordell (Afobe 60), Kevin Davies.

Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Alonso, Ream, Petrov, Wylde, Pratley.

Booked: Mills, Mark Davies, Knight.

Goals: Kevin Davies 77,Eagles 90.

Derby: Fielding, Brayford, Keogh, O'Connor, Roberts, Coutts, Bryson,
Hendrick,Ward,Sammon (Hughes 69),Tyson (Bennett 84).

Subs Not Used: Legzdins, Buxton, Jacobs, Doyle, Gjokaj.

Booked: Tyson.

Att: 17,050

Ref: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Nigel Clough's men were quickest out of the blocks once again after the interval, with Nathan Tyson going close before Richard Keogh's strike from a corner was ruled out for a foul.

Following a spell of persistent Wanderers pressure, Davies finished legally from a corner and Eagles made sure of the points – but not until Derby substitute Mason Bennett had rattled the post.

Matt Mills made his Bolton debut at centre-back and Eagles got the nod on the left wing as Tim Ream and Martin Petrov dropped to the bench.

Sammon came straight into the Derby attack at the expense of 17-year-old Will Hughes after joining from Wigan yesterday, while James O'Connor was handed a first start in defence with Jake Buxton laid low by illness.

Sammon had the opportunity to make perfect start in the third minute when he burst through on goal but could not fully shake the attentions of Mills and shot tamely at Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal.

Wanderers widemen Eagles and Lee Chung-yong responded with speculative efforts in quick succession, although the latter then wildly slashed a shot out for a throw.

Eagles' aim was truer in the 18th minute when his pinpoint cross found Sordell, but the Team GB striker headed wide when well placed.

The half took on a disjointed feel from that point and anxiety in the Reebok Stadium stands momentarily spread to the pitch as Bogdan fumbled Jamie Ward's corner, prompting a scramble concluded by Keith Andrews' clearance.

Off and running: Davies sends Bolton on their way to victory

Off and running: Davies sends Bolton on their way to victory

Derby saw a golden chance slip shortly after the restart when Mark Davies produced a goal-saving tackle to deny Nathan Tyson with the goal at his mercy.

From the resulting corner Rams defender Richard Keogh had the ball in the net as Bogdan flailed once more, but referee Craig Pawson spotted an infringement.

Sordell and Eagles troubled the visitors goal as Wanderers looked to respond and the former made way for Benik Afobe with an hour gone.

The on-loan Arsenal youngster almost made an instant impact when he forced a superb fingertip save from Derby's Frank Fielding after latching on to Davies' delicate chip.

Battle: Chris Eagles in action with Gareth Roberts of Derby County

Battle: Chris Eagles in action with Gareth Roberts of Derby County

That chance prompted waves of Bolton pressure and although Fielding made another excellent reaction save from Eagles, he was forced to pick the ball out of his net in the 76th minute.

Eagles' left-wing corner fell invitingly and Davies made no mistake, slamming home emphatically.

Another uncertain Bogdan moment followed as Bennett's drive squirmed under his dive and against the post.

But Coyle and co could breath easily early in stoppage time when Eagles forced his way through a pair of challenges to slot an assured low finish.

Darren Bent to be Aston Villa captain

Lambert set to hand Villa armband to Bent while stricken Petrov recovers

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 31 July 2012


Skipper: Darren Bent in pre-season action

Skipper: Darren Bent in pre-season action

Darren Bent looks set to be Aston Villa's new captain.

Villa boss Paul Lambert has named the England international as his skipper during the pre-season and the forward will be confirmed in the role when the Premier League campaign gets underway.

Bent will take over from Stiliyan Petrov who is likely to remain as club captain for the remainder of the 12 months he has to run on his contract. Petrov is fighting a battle with acute leukaemia.

But Bent, who is fit following the ankle injury that ended his Euro 2012 hopes with England, is keen to remain in the job.

Fantasy football 2012

'If I can hang on to it, I’ll be delighted. It’s a big goal of mine,' he said, 'the gaffer just said to me “I’ve given you the armband for now, and I just want you to justify why I’ve given it to you”.

'I want to just try and lead by example and try and be a good role model. I was captain of Charlton for a year and I enjoyed that and if I get to keep it this year I’ll be delighted.'

British Grand Prix 2012: Wet conditions at Silverstone practice

Wet and wild! Drivers struggle in treacherous conditions at Silverstone practice in front of record crowd

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UPDATED:

12:34 GMT, 6 July 2012

The expected heavy rain and grey skies dominated first practice ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Remarkably, the atrocious weather failed to dampen the enthusiasm of many of the fans, with a record 80,000 for a Friday looking on.

Those under the grandstands would have been naturally welcome of the shelter, but those in the open air were subjected to a non-stop deluge throughout the 90 minutes as they huddled under umbrellas.

Wet and wild: Vitaly Petrov (above) and Romain Grosjean (below) struggle to keep their cars on track

Wet and wild: Vitaly Petrov (above) and Romain Grosjean (below) struggle to keep their cars on track

Wet and wild: Romain Grosjean struggles to keep his Lotus on the track

When the session began the rain was relatively light, allowing the majority of the field an opportunity to get out on track.

Ordinarily, wet weather on many other circuits around the world would result in the drivers opting to sit in the garage knowing warmer, drier climes would be on the way.

But with more rain forecast across the weekend as Britain's sorry summer evolves into the wettest on record, there was a case to at least get some laps under their belts.

Home favourites: Hamilton (above) and Button below kick up spray on the Silverstone track

Home favourites: Hamilton (above) and Button below kick up spray on the Silverstone track

Home favourites: Hamilton (above) and Button below kick up spray on the Silverstone track

Unfortunately, the rain grew in intensity as the session wore on, resulting in the teams and drivers deciding to avoid the worst of the conditions.

Appreciably there were a number who spun through the puddles, fortunately without accident.

As Marussia's Timo Glock jokingly remarked: 'Bit of swimming today. Only six laps in FP1. UK weather is unreal.'

It has to be remembered, as teams only have three sets of full wet Pirelli tyres for a weekend, they were taking precautions not to do too much running and so waste their rubber.

Saturated: Stewards work to sweep water of the track

Saturated: Stewards work to sweep water of the track

Come the conclusion it was Lotus' Romain Grosjean at the top of a largely irrelevant timesheet, even for a Friday, with a lap of one minute 56.552secs, completing the second-highest total of 13 laps.

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo was 0.275secs adrift, with Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren the only other driver to finish within a second of Grosjean, the home hero 0.622secs down.

For the record, Sauber's Sergio Perez was 1.112secs behind with Felipe Massa in his Ferrari and Red Bull's Mark Webber 1.567secs and 1.911secs off the pace.

Record crowd: The weather did not prevent fans from flocking to Northamptonshire

Record crowd: The weather did not prevent fans from flocking to Northamptonshire

Record crowd: The weather did not prevent fans from flocking to Northamptonshire

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Schumacher for Mercedes were also inside two seconds of Grosjean, with the former managing 19 laps, but also under investigation by the stewards for a pit-lane entry infringement.

Reigning double world champion Sebastian Vettel was 2.862secs down in 11th, with McLaren's Jenson Button over five seconds adrift in 17th.

Tough test: Rain is forecast throughout the weekend

Tough test: Rain is forecast throughout the weekend

Tough test: Rain is forecast throughout the weekend

Current championship leader Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari and the Force India duo of Paul di Resta and reserve Jules Bianchi, standing in for Nico Hulkenberg, all failed to set a time as they managed four, three and one installation lap respectively.

Beyond the track it became clear Silverstone's traffic management system, given a 1million upgrade for this year, was falling apart as many fans were Tweeting about the horrors of being stuck in stationary traffic, missing out on the first session.

Meanwhile, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber unveiled their Wings for Life cars ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix.

Both will drive their specially-branded RB8s, which each feature more than 25,000 photos that have been sent in by fans, throughout the race weekend.

Wings for Life: Webber sits in his the charity-sponsored Red Bull car

Wings for Life: Webber sits in the charity-sponsored Red Bull car

Wings for Life: Webber sits in his the charity-sponsored Red Bull car

Organised for Wings for Life, the charity that is striving to find a cure for spinal cord injury, the initiative was open to fans all over the world who wanted to race with Webber and Vettel at this year's Silverstone race and support an incredible cause.

Karim El Ahmadi joins Aston Villa from Feynenoord

Lambert unveils first recruit El Ahmadi as Feyenoord midfielder completes Villa switch

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UPDATED:

15:04 GMT, 2 July 2012

Karim El Ahmadi admits he has realised 'a dream' by joining Aston Villa and has set his sights on re-establishing them in the top half of the Barclays Premier League.

The 27-year-old Morocco international has signed a three-year deal after completing his move from Feyenoord.

He played a leading role in Feyenoord securing a Champions League spot last season and is keen to make a big impression at Villa Park as new manager Paul Lambert's first signing.

Welcome: New signing Karim El Ahmadi poses with the Villa shirt

Welcome: New signing Karim El Ahmadi poses with the Villa shirt

Midfielder El Ahmadi said: 'This club should be competing in the top half of the table and I am looking forward to achieving that with the team.

'It was always a dream of mine to
play in the Premier League. I think this is the best league in the
world. It will be a challenge to show people what I can do.

'Last year was successful for me and
for Feyenoord and we qualified for the Champions League but sometimes in
life you have to make choices.

'I came to this club and spoke to the
people here and they gave me great confidence in what we can do this
year, so I have chosen to come.'

El Ahmadi is looking to stamp his
mark on Villa in the centre of the park, an area where they lacked
experience last season particularly after Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed
with leukaemia.

Done deal: Aston Villa have signed Karim El Ahmadi on a three-year deal from Feyenoord

Done deal: Aston Villa have signed Karim El Ahmadi on a three-year deal from Feyenoord

He said: 'As a player, I always want to have the ball and that is my main quality.

'I always want the ball and to
dictate the game. That's what I did at Feyenoord and hopefully I can
show the fans, the club and the manager my quality.

I'm very happy that the manager wants me and that the club wants me and I'm looking forward to starting training again.

'It's nice that I am the manager's
first transfer and I am looking forward to doing good things with the
team and with the club this year. El Ahmadi is excited with the prospect
of linking up with Australian wide midfield player Brett Holman who he
played against during his spell with fellow Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.

He said: 'I've played against Brett a lot of times, not only when he was at AZ but when he was younger he played at Feyenoord.

'He's a great player and it's good for him, too, to come to a club like this and to make a step up.

'In Holland he showed his quality and
now it's good to have him next to me. He's a great player to play with
and he never gives up. I don't think I ever saw him standing still on
the pitch.'

Lambert said: 'Karim will help the team, I have no doubt about that.

'He's a really good footballer and he's played well in a good team, a big team, and I'm looking forward to working with him.

'In fact, I'm really looking forward to getting things going on Thursday when the lads will report back for pre-season.'

Martin Petrov wanted by Rangers

Rangers ready to make move for relegated Bolton winger Petrov

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UPDATED:

10:25 GMT, 11 June 2012

Rangers want to sign Bolton winger Martin Petrov. The Scottish club have a small window available to sign players on free transfers, with AC Milan's Rene Gattuso another target.

But Rangers may struggle to fund wages above 20,000 per week and Petrov, 33, may hold out for better offers.

Leaving Bolton: Martin Petrov is wanted north of the border

Leaving Bolton: Martin Petrov is wanted north of the border

Martin Petrov hunted by Rangers

Rangers ready to make move for relegated Bolton winger Petrov

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 10 June 2012

Rangers want to sign Bolton winger Martin Petrov. The Scottish club have a small window available to sign players on free transfers, with AC Milan's Rene Gattuso another target.

But Rangers may struggle to fund wages above 20,000 per week and Petrov, 33, may hold out for better offers.

Leaving Bolton: Martin Petrov is wanted north of the border

Leaving Bolton: Martin Petrov is wanted north of the border

Relegated Bolton keep stalwart Kevin Davies

Relegated Bolton keep stalwart Kevin Davies but the exodus has begun

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UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 14 May 2012

Staying: Kevin Davies (left) will be staying at Bolton

Staying: Kevin Davies (left) will be staying at Bolton

Bolton will begin a clearout of their
first-team squad this week following relegation from the Premier League
– but long-serving captain Kevin Davies is staying at the club.

Davies is believed to have agreed a
new 12-month contract that will see the 35-year-old striker take on more
coaching duties under Owen Coyle, whose future as manager is not
thought to be under threat.

'Right now I don't want to talk
about it too much, but I'm pretty sure I'll be here next year,' said
Davies in the aftermath of a 2-2 draw at Stoke that saw Bolton finish
one point below QPR on a dramatic final day.

'The club has got a decision to
make on a number of players. We'll rebuild and hopefully get a good
enough squad together to get us back up.'

As many as 11 players will soon
become free agents, while relegation means others will have to take a
wage cut under the terms of their contracts.

Martin Petrov, Jussi Jaaskelainen
and Sam Ricketts are set to join Davies by agreeing new deals, but seven
more players are almost certain to leave.

Ivan Klasnic, Paul Robinson, Robbie Blake and Sean Davis are expected to be released, and loan signings Ryo Miyaichi, Tuncay Sanli and Dedryck Boyata will return to their parent clubs.

The futures of Zat Knight, Gretar Steinsson and Ricardo Gardner remain unclear after all three were offered new terms on significantly lower wages.

Uncertain future: Gretar Steinsson (centre) could move on

Uncertain future: Gretar Steinsson (centre) could move on

Coyle is keen to keep Knight after David Wheater was ruled out for up to nine months with a knee injury, but the big centre-back has already been linked with moves to West Ham and Cardiff.

Bolton have tried to protect themselves against the impact of relegation, and owner Eddie Davies has pledged to continue his support having invested another 10million in March.

Linked: West Ham and Cardiff interested in Zat Knight

Linked: West Ham and Cardiff interested in Zat Knight

The Isle of Man-based tycoon has bankrolled the majority of the club's 110m debt with only 10m owing to the banks.

However, it is believed that Bolton will lose 30m next season in sponsorship and television revenue, and selling players to help balance the books cannot be ruled out.

Of their three major assets, Mark Davies, Chung-Yong Lee and Stuart Holden, Davies looks the most vulnerable with Newcastle known to be monitoring his situation.

Kevin Davies added: 'It feels like a bad dream. I honestly felt this day wouldn't come. I thought we'd do enough to save ourselves but we haven't.

'You just want to bury your head somewhere, and it will take a few days and weeks to reflect. We find ourselves in the Championship. It's a new challenge for the club and hopefully come pre-season we'll be right.'

The Bolton skipper insisted that Coyle side's cannot hide behind the long-term absences of Lee, Holden and Tyrone Mears, or the trauma of Fabrice Muamba's collapse at Tottenham in March.

'I've never been one to make excuses,' added Davies. 'You have to look at yourself and take responsibility.

'We're absolutely over the moon that Fabrice has made that recovery. It could have been so different. But when you're out on the pitch you have to put those things behind you.'

Alex McLeish set for crunch talks with Aston Villa

Villa boss McLeish set for crunch talks after fans call for his head at Norwich

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UPDATED:

07:20 GMT, 14 May 2012

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish will hold talks with club owner Randy Lerner in the next 24 hours which will decide whether he will pay the price for a season of underachievement.

Lerner will fly in from the United States to speak with McLeish along with chief executive Paul Faulkner in the aftermath of Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Norwich, which was described as 'woeful' by the manager.

Sections of fans again called for the former Birmingham boss to be axed as Villa ended the campaign just two points clear of the bottom three.

Take a walk: Aston Villa fans wave their shoes at manager Alex McLeish

Take a walk: Aston Villa fans wave their shoes at manager Alex McLeish

McLeish has had to contend with
slashing the wage bill, which he described as astronomical, and has been
deprived of several key players through injury or illness.

The likes of record signing Darren
Bent, key defender Richard Dunne and skipper Stiliyan Petrov have been
sidelined for lengthy spells and McLeish has had to put the accent on
youth.

McLeish always stressed it would be a
season of transition after replacing Gerard Houllier last summer, but it
was still a surprise that Villa only made sure of survival last
weekend.

Their tally of 38 points in finishing 16th is actually one less than when McLeish was relegated with Birmingham last campaign.

Villa have also encountered their worst season in their history in terms of their home record in registering just four wins.

McLeish maintains he is the right
man to turn things around at Aston Villa – despite the club's own fans
chanting for him to be replaced by rival boss Paul Lambert in
the season-ending 2-0 defeat at Norwich.

But his future now depends on whether
Lerner decides it is time to search for a fourth manager in less than
two years or takes into account the difficult conditions McLeish has
worked under.

Under pressure: McLeish (second left) has struggled at Villa this season

Under pressure: McLeish (second left) has struggled at Villa this season

Martin O'Neill quit in the summer of
2010 and Houllier had to leave Villa last summer on health grounds,
which led to McLeish's controversial appointment after leaving Blues.

First-half goals from Norwich's
leading scorer Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson allowed the hosts, who were
already safe from a last-day relegation scrap, to enjoy a party
atmosphere in the Norfolk sunshine on Saturday.

However,
the several thousand travelling support sent a loud and clear message
they expected much better next season.

Even though there were calls for his
head from the club's own fans, who even chanted Lambert's name during
the match, McLeish insists he can get the Midlands club back on track.

'I am not a quitter,' he said.

'I
can totally understand the fans' frustrations and I am the man who
carries the can for the performances, but it is also frustrating for me
to watch that kind of stuff.

'It is up to me to turn the opinion around and will do my best.

'I have to get a team in that Villa jersey with a winning mentality and I can change the fans' opinion.'

Main man: Grant Holt capped off a fine season with another goal against Villa

Main man: Grant Holt capped off a fine season with another goal against Villa

Main man: Grant Holt capped off a fine season with another goal against Villa

Like
for much of their disappointing campaign, Villa offered little in the
way of attacking threat against the hard-working Canaries.

'That was an unacceptable performance
in Aston Villa colours and I have to change that, and there will be
change,' said McLeish, a somewhat controversial appointment to replace
Gerard Houllier after leaving bitter rivals Birmingham following their
relegation.

'I might not
have had the riches to spend of other managers, but believe I can turn
Aston Villa around by adding quality and players who are going to work
their socks off.'

McLeish remains relaxed ahead of his showdown with the Villa Park hierarchy.

'You can start fearing for your job at any time. That would be really negative,' he said.

'I will go into the meeting as positive as possible.'

At the helm: Norwich boss Paul Lambert has worked wonders this season

At the helm: Norwich boss Paul Lambert has worked wonders this season

Lambert,
meanwhile, has seen his stock rise after masterminding Norwich's
survival with a series of industrious displays by a squad full of
relative unheralded players which secured 12th spot.

The former Celtic midfielder has become a potential target for other clubs, but refused to be drawn on the chants of the Villa supporters – who goaded McLeish he was set to be 'sacked in the morning' before declaring their allegiance to Lambert.

'Aston Villa is not my team. Norwich is and the Norwich fans singing it is greatly appreciated,' said Lambert, who took the club up through successive promotions from npower League One.

'I understand what is happening at Aston Villa and I can see what is happening with the crowd and the manager which is never nice.

'But that is out of my control – my control is Norwich and the Norwich fans have been brilliant for me.'

However, asked if he would still be with the Canaries at the start of next season, the Scot said: 'It is a hard one to answer because I have a contract here and everyone is doing great in their respective jobs.

'I will get this season out of the road and then I will see what happens and think about what is going on and the achievements we have done, and then we will see.'