Cowans - Massive week for Villa

First-team coach wants Villa to get out of mess to honour Petrov

Stiliyan Petrov: Villa captain visited the club's training ground last week

Gordon Cowans: Hoping Aston Villa can win in honour of Stiliyan Petrov

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Aston Villa first-team coach Gordon Cowans has urged the club to steer clear of the relegation zone in honour of skipper Stiliyan Petrov.

The midfielder paid his first visit to the club's training ground on Wednesday since being diagnosed with acute leukaemia and is feeling positive about the challenges ahead, according to Cowans.

On the field, the struggling Midlands outfit are in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle.

Alex McLeish's side may have to chisel out points from their next two crucial home games against Sunderland and Bolton in order to pull clear and Cowans is aware what a defining week this could be in Villa's season.

"What we really need to try for Stiliyan is get ourselves out of the mess we are in at the moment," said Cowans.

"It is a massive week for the club with a big game coming up at the weekend against Sunderland and next Tuesday's meeting with Bolton."