Stiliyan Petrov is planning an extraordinary comeback to professional football

By Amir Mir

New signing Tommy Elphick was joined by comeback kid Stan Petrov as Aston Villa returned to pre-season training on Wednesday.

The official VillaTwitter account provided pictures of the Villa squad in action Bodymoor Heath as the club prepares to gain instant promotion back to the top flight.

The Midlands outfit were relegated from the Premier League in the previous campaign and now newly appointed manager Roberto Di Matteo wants to stamp his authority on the club.

The Villa faithful will be more pleased to see the return of Holte-End hero Stiliyan Petrov, who returns to professional football after beating his battle with acute leukaemia, a disease he was diagnosed with in 2012.

The ex-Villa captain has been invited to join up with the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria which begins on 7th July. As Petrov looks to prove his fitness, he has been initially invited to train for a month on a non-contract basis.

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The 36-year-old was all smiles as he talks to academy player Callum Robinson, but the former Bulgaria international will be pleased to return to football and help the Midlands club with promotion.

Images also show new £3million signing Tommy Elphick holding a number of football boots as he prepares for life at Villa Park.

Scottish international, Alan Hutton, goalkeeper Mark Bunn, expreinced midfielder Ashley Westwood and academy graduates Gary Gardner and Jordan Lyden appeared cheerful as they look to impress new boss Di Matteo and first team coach Steve Clarke for the forthcoming campaign.

In other Aston Villa news, French club ready to trigger release clause of Villa’s defensive midfielder.