Barry Bannan reveals Stiliyan Petrov incentive

Bannan: We'll survive drop for Petrov
© PA Photos
Barry Bannan says that Aston Villa are determined to avoid relegation so captain Stiliyan Petrov can come back to a Premier League club once he overcomes acute leukaemia.

Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan has insisted that Stiliyan Petrov's encouragement will give the team an extra incentive to stay in the Premier League.

The Midlands side currently sit six points clear of the relegation zone but with just five games left to play this season, there is always a danger that Alex McLeish's team could fall into the bottom three.

Despite Villa captain Petrov continuing to receive treatment for acute leukaemia, Bannan has revealed that the 32-year-old is still urging his teammates to push up the table.

"He's going through a really tough time as we all know but you wouldn't know from being around him," Bannan told the club's official website. "He's always positive and looking ahead.

"He's told us to keep going and get ready for the big games coming up. He's told us we can turn it around and finish strongly. He's told us to keep battling.

"He may be fighting illness but he'll be following us every step of the way, no doubt. We owe it to Stan to make sure when he does come back into it, he's skipper of a Premier League club. That's a big incentive for us, to ensure survival for Stan."

Villa go up against Sunderland on home turf this Saturday.

Alex McLeish
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