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Published: 15:08 | 26/4/16

Petrov hopes to make playing return

Stiliyan Petrov wants to play professional football again and is targeting a return to the Aston Villa squad.

Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia in March 2012 after developing a fever in the wake of Aston Villa's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.

He underwent four months of chemotherapy and in August 2012 it was announced that the disease was in remission, but in May 2013 he was forced to bring his playing career to an end due to his continued fight against leukaemia.

After successfully battling the illness, Petrov has undertaken an lengthy fitness plan and is hoping to make a return ahead of the 2016-17 season.

“I’m looking forward to a return to football again," Petrov said at the launch of a golf day to raise funds for the Stiliyan Petrov Foundation.

"I’ve told Aston Villa that I’m ready to start a pre-season with them. Obviously they will always have the first look.

"I spoke to a lot of doctors and fitness coaches and everybody looked at it and assessed it and I have received very positive news.

"I’ve been working close to the idea for a year and a half and I’m very excited."

Petrov made 218 appearances in all competitions for Aston Villa between 2006 and 2013 and has been working with the club's under-21s to help regain his fitness.

"I understand the odds will be against me. People will be asking a lot of questions and having a lot of doubts but I always believe it you work hard you will get fitter," he added.

"It’s about how much you put into it.

"I’ve got a big pre-season of my own before an actual pre-season but I’m really looking forward to it.

"I’ve looked after myself well and I think I’ve got a good shout. Even if it doesn’t happen, I’ve tried."

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